Food delivery soars in South Korea on virus fears

Food delivery soars in South Korea on virus fears

Women wearing masks as a preventive measure against the coronavirus walk at a market in Seoul on Thursday. (Reuters photo)
Women wearing masks as a preventive measure against the coronavirus walk at a market in Seoul on Thursday. (Reuters photo)

Consumers in South Korea are increasingly turning to contactless services as infection cases from no relevance to China surges in the country and causes panic about the danger of the mysterious new epidemic.

According to the nation’s No.2 food delivery app Yogiyo on Wednesday, the number of deliveries rose 11% during Feb 1 to 16 compared to the period of Jan 6 to 21 when the virus had yet to spread across the country, Pulse reported.

“Deliveries have grown by 3-4% every week from Jan 20 when the first confirmed case was reported,” an official from the company said, adding that the company expects the recent rapid spread would keep more consumers indoors to avoid contact with other people.

The country’s leading food delivery app Baedal Minjok (Baemin) also saw its deliveries rise 9% during Jan 31 to Feb 17 compared to Jan 3 to 20. An official said the number of orders tends to decrease 6-15% right after a long holiday in normal times, but this year the orders increased after the Lunar New Year holiday which fell from Jan 24 - 27. The virus began spreading quickly in South Korea around the holiday.

Yogiyo said the number of customers who asked to leave the food at the door to avoid contact with the delivery man increased 13% last weekend compared to the same period a month ago.

Despite the government’s control measures, fears over infection are growing as the number of confirmed cases in South Korea shot up to 82 as of Thursday from just 31 on Tuesday. Most of the newly infected people were known to have visited Shincheonji Church of Jesus in Daegu with the 31st patient.

An official from the foodservice industry said more and more consumers will resort to online and mobile shopping and food delivery due to the growing fear.


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