MERS Alters People’s Behavior

By Kim Bo-eun

People are shunning hospitals, cutting public transport use and buying products to protect themselves from Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS).

Sales of medicines at convenience stores have soared as people avoid hospitals.

According to 7-Eleven, sales of cold medicines and fever reducers have risen 16 percent from June 1 to June 15 from a year earlier.

Sales in the same period increased 12 percent at convenience store CU.

People are also taking fewer trips on public transport because of the virus.

Subway and bus patronage in Seoul on June 14 totaled 5,698,000, down 21.9 percent from May 31. The decline was not notable during rush hour.

Passenger numbers on the KTX bullet train’s Seoul-Busan line fell 25.8 percent from June 1 to June 14 compared with the same period last year.

To keep viruses away, people are buying air purifiers.

Sales of the product at Emart from June 1 to June 15 surged 104.9 percent compared with the same period a year earlier. Sales at Lotte Department Store jumped 42.5 percent.

The first MERS case was confirmed on May 20 and the first death occurred on June 1. The death toll is 20, with 162 confirmed cases and 6,508 people quarantined as of June 17.


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