BBC news about a traditional Indian vegetable market (mandi) as spreading ground for Covid-19:

Koyambedu: India's coronavirus cluster at a vegetable market [...]

On 8 May, Tamil Nadu officials said 1,589 positive cases in the state could be traced to the market. The next day that number had jumped to 1,867, but there has been no update since then.

[...] with 9,674 positive cases so far, Tamil Nadu is now among the worst-hit states in the country, second only to Maharashtra with 27,524.

(The officials knew about the cases but the market was not closed for 40 days because it was apparently the only source of food for a large swath of Chennai. Eventually it was closed but that angered shoppers and sellers who could not find enough retail space elsewhere.)

Nearly 2000 cases linked to one market (this includes secondary transmissions, i.e. of those who "got it" at the market and spread it elsewhere)... is a lot.

So, I'm curious: have similar (but possibly smaller) clusters have been linked to "modern" supermarkets somewhere else? Or is there something special about traditional markets that makes them [much] more vulnerable? The BBC article does say that:

traders say these large, semi-formal markets in cities where land is scarce and costly are not designed for social distancing.

I found some news about supermarket workers testing positive, sometimes in large numbers, e.g NBC4 (video) says 21 workers at the same (Hollywood Ralphs') store tested positive. (Also CBS LA article on that.). I guess the lack of [further] contact tracing in that case (US) makes it impossible to say how many cases were linked outside the store.

  • You've answered your own question. if there are large numbers of workers in a supermarket infected, they have certainly spread the disease to their families Commented May 18, 2020 at 23:27
  • @GrahamChiu: sure, but that was the 1st hit I found in google. I'm guessing/hoping there might be some more material on this, perhaps in the direction of a more "serious" paper like e.g. MMWR published on a Korean office building. wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/26/8/20-1274_article Commented May 18, 2020 at 23:29

2 Answers 2


There are described any infections on supermarkets in China.

Ten workers became infected in Liaocheng. As a result, there were at least 6 secondary infections.

There were 17 cases in Wenzhou. The patient with the earliest symptoms was a female cleaner. As a result, more than 100,000 people were traced.

In Tianjin, 6 shop workers and 9 customers were infected.

An other outbreak is described here, in a Whole Foods market in the near of Washington. There was 16 employees infected. However, there is no information about infections outside the market.


I dont know about supermarkets but there were clusters based on postal service centers in Austria (at least 72 infected this way):

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