Photo/Illutration Dentsu Inc.’s headquarters, center, in Tokyo’s Shiodome district (Asahi Shimbun file photo)

Advertising giant Dentsu Inc. instructed all 5,000 employees at its Shiodome headquarters in Tokyo to work from home for the time being from Feb. 26 after a staff member was confirmed to be infected with the new coronavirus.

The agency announced the measure Feb. 25, the day after the employee tested positive, and said it will remain in place for the foreseeable future. Employees will be obliged to report their health condition to the company during the telework period.

Dentsu said four employees in the main office were confirmed by a public health center as having been in close contact with the infected individual, a man in his 50s who is being treated at a hospital but not listed in serious condition.

The four employees were instructed to stay at home. 

The agency disinfected the man's workplace at the instructions of the public health center and closed the entire floor on Feb. 25.

All of the employees who were working on the floor switched to teleworking the same day. The company also prohibited them from meeting with business contacts.

Dentsu said, however, that only employees in good health could still attend meetings at the offices of business acquaintances if no objections were raised and the work was urgent.

Dentsu’s Kansai branch office in Osaka and Chubu branch office in Nagoya are not targeted by the telework measure.

Hakuhodo Inc., another leading advertising agency, said it also was considering introducing the telework system as a preventive measure against the coronavirus.