South Korean retailers have seen growth in online grocery sales since cases of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) were first reported in the country on 20 May, according to Yonhap News.
The Korean news agency has reported that the country’s three largest retailers – E-mart, Home Plus and Lotte Mart – have seen double-digit growth in online orders and declines in bricks-and-mortar sales since the MERS outbreak due to growing fears of contracting the disease.
Lotte Mart saw a 63.1 per cent increase in online sales between 1 June and 11 June compared to the same period in 2014, with an 83 per cent in crease in fresh food and a 90.1 per cent increase in ready-to-cook meals, while sales at its bricks-and-mortar stores fell 10 per cent.
The respiratory disease has lead to 16 deaths and more than 150 infections in South Korea since the first infection was diagnosed in May – the largest outbreak since the illness was first reported in Saudi Arabia in 2012.
The World Health Organisation has said that the outbreak is “large and complex”, with more cases to be anticipated, with reported the outbreaks traced to health facilities and hospitals.