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(LEAD) Department stores shut down over coronavirus fears

All Headlines 11:52 February 23, 2020

(ATTN: UPDATES headline, lead; ADDS details throughout)

SEOUL, Feb. 23 (Yonhap) -- Major South Korean retailers said Sunday they will partially shut down some of their outlets in Seoul for disinfection measures following recent visits by patients diagnosed with the new coronavirus.

Shinsegae Department Store said its store in the posh Gangnam district will close its food court on the basement level for one day, after a patient infected with the COVID-19 virus stayed at the venue for an hour on Wednesday with her husband.

The patient attended a religious service of a minor Christian sect in Daegu, 302 kilometers southeast of Seoul, last week. Her infection was confirmed on Friday.

Members of the sect constitute the majority of the total coronavirus infections here, which have topped 500 cases.

This undated file photo shows the Gangnam outlet of Shinsegae Department Store. (Yonhap)

Shinsegae said it has decided to maintain the operation of other floors as the patient only visited the food court and wore a face mask.

"We will take all necessary disinfection and sanitary measures to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus," a corporate official said.

Lotte Department Store also decided to close down its outlet in western Seoul, after a coronavirus patient visited the venue on Wednesday.

"While the patient only visited a part of the outlet, we decided to fully close the building for safety," an official from Lotte said.

Earlier this month, other department store and supermarket chains, such as Hyundai Department Store, also suspended the operations of their stores after patients' visits.

colin@yna.co.kr
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