SEOUL– A boiler factory in central South Korea has emerged as a new coronavirus cluster, with as many as 75 employees and their family members diagnosed with COVID-19 as of Tuesday, officials said.

Kiturami Boiler’s plant in Asan, South Chungcheong Province, has reported coronavirus infections among 60 employees out of its entire 641 workers, according to provincial health officials.

Notably, at least 54 of the 60 infected employees worked at the same building named “F,” the officials said, speculating the virus may have spread among the workers through fan heaters in the poorly ventilated factory building.

The quarantine authorities have detected the coronavirus from all over the F building, including fan heaters, a shared dressing room sofa, drink vending machine and conference room table, they said.

The boiler plant has suspended operations, and coronavirus tests are under way for all other employees and their families, they said, adding infections may further increase in coming days.

The provincial government said it plans to conduct an emergency inspection on all industrial plants with 100 employees or more to stave off outbreaks of similar cluster infections.

“Boiler plant workers appear to have been massively infected with the coronavirus while dining or staying together in the poorly ventilated dressing, bath and rest rooms,” a provincial official said.

Source: Yonhap News Agency