Virus prompts libraries to adopt drive-thru book rental service

Park Sae-jin Reporter() | Posted : March 6, 2020, 12:05 | Updated : March 6, 2020, 12:05

People are being tested at a drive-thru coronavirus screening clinic in Goyang.[Photograph by Jang Yoon-jung]

SEOUL -- Two public libraries have prepared a special drive-thru book rental solution for book lovers who were scared to visit public libraries to read and borrow books because of a nationwide outbreak of the novel coronavirus.

The Simin Municipal Library and the Busan Metropolitan Joongang Library in the southern port city of Busan said Friday that they will start the operation of drive-thru book rental and return service next week.

People can make reservations for the books they wish to borrow using websites. When visitors drive cars along the drive-thru course, books will be delivered by librarians. Visitors can borrow up to three books once a week. Books will be sanitized. The drive-thru system will run until public libraries, closed due to COVID-19m open again.

The libraries benchmarked health officials who came up with an indigenous idea of operating provisional drive-thru clinics for coronavirus tests. Drive-thru clinics do not require fancy equipment such as sound pressure tents as visitors are checked for viruses while staying inside their cars.

Drive-thru virus screening appeared first at Yeungnam University Medical Center in the southeastern city of Daegu, the epicenter of South Korea's coronavirus epidemic, spreading to other areas.

The national anti-epidemic center has recommended the wider use of drive-thru screening, acknowledging its efficiency, as health officials, especially in Daegu hit hard by the epidemic, were swamped with tons of samples.

An effective distance of infection from a virus carrier is about two meters, the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) said, adding South Korea could cut off the "chain of transmission" if the entire population strictly follows hygiene rules.

KCDC data showed that about 8,000 people are tested daily for the virus. Health officials promised to speed up the examination of suspected cases, saying South Korea is faster than any other country in isolating the virus, distributing diagnostic kits and diagnosing accurately on a very large scale.
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