Coronavirus: Study shows ‘alarming’ rate at which virus can spread around an office

With the UK now in its fifth week of blockade, many bored Britons are anxious for restrictions to be lifted.

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Last night, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he will establish a "roadmap" to facilitate coronavirus blocking restrictions next week, with changes expected for schools, offices and restaurants.

Now, a new study has warned of what could happen if busy offices become overcrowded with workers again.

Scientists at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Korea have shown how quickly the virus can spread through an open-plan office, quickly infecting many workers.

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In the study, the researchers followed an outbreak of coronavirus in a 19-story call center in Seoul in February.

The first worker to catch the virus was infected on February 22, before the second case was reported three days later.

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People at work

In just over two weeks, almost 100 workers tested positive for COVID-19.

In your report, the researchers, led by Shin Young Park, wrote: "This outbreak alarmingly shows that severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) can be exceptionally contagious in crowded offices, such as a call center.

"The magnitude of the outbreak illustrates how a high-density work environment can become a high-risk location for the spread of COVID-19 and potentially a source of more transmission."

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Deepening the findings, the researchers found that almost half of the infections occurred on one side of the 11th floor.

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Coronavirus prevention

The researchers added: “Of the 1,143 people who were tested for COVID-19, a total of 97 (confirmed cases. Of these, 94 were working in an 11th floor call center with 216 employees, which means an attack rate of 43 , 5%. ”

The team hopes the findings will encourage officials to maintain social distance in the offices when they reopen.

The report added: “In summary, this outbreak exemplifies the threat posed by SARS-CoV-2, with its propensity to cause major outbreaks among people in office workplaces. Targeted preventive strategies can help mitigate the risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection in this vulnerable group. "

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