Can you catch COVID-19 from deliveries?

E-commerce has provided a lifeline to many in lockdown.

But a new outbreak in South Korea has deepened anxiety over home delivery.

[Amazon Flex driver, Excelso Sabulao says:] We can contract the virus from surfaces. Right? So that's really, that's really what kind of terrifies me when it comes to these deliveries.”

At least 117 infections have been linked to a warehouse near Seoul.

It’s run by one of South Korea’s largest online shopping companies: the e-commerce giant, Coupang facility.

South Korea’s vice minister of health and welfare, Kim Gang-lip: "We are very nervous about community infections and we are keeping a close eye on the situation. We are doing our best to prevent the further spread of infection through fast contact tracing and testing.”

The virus can persist for up to 24 hours on cardboard and 72 hours on plastic and stainless steel, says research cited by the World Health Organization.

Many brands are now able to offer “bullet delivery,” getting goods from warehouses to homes in less-than-24-hours.

Both Coupang and Market Kurly provide such services and have reported infections from their logistics centres.

However, no cases have actually been linked to deliveries and health officials have played down the chance of infection, saying there has been “no precedent of a global transmission so far from delivered packages.”

The other thing to consider is the amount of virus that would be transmitted.

Ki Mo-ran, a professor of population health at the National Cancer Center, said it was not so easy to contaminate packaging as a small quantity of the virus isn’t as contagious, and people should be safe as long as they wash their hands.