HEFEI, March 20 (Xinhua) -- Instead of ordering takeout amid the novel coronavirus outbreak, Zhang Yiyun, a young white-collar worker in Hefei, capital of eastern China's Anhui Province, now eats her lunch from her new electric lunchbox when she is at work.
"It is safer to have home-cooked meals during this special period, and I no longer need to queue up to heat my meal in the microwave oven," said Zhang, adding that her new routine has solved her problem of what to do for lunch as many restaurants have not restored dine-in services.
Zhang is among many people in China who have rushed to buy items such as electric lunch boxes, electric bicycles and disinfectants in a bid to ensure their safe return to work.
The National Development and Reform Commission said Tuesday that over 90 percent of the major industrial enterprises in China's provincial-level regions, excluding certain areas like Hubei, have resumed work and production.
After returning to work as the epidemic recedes, many workers still pay great attention to epidemic prevention, thus spurring consumption on certain goods that help ensure work safety.
Statistics from e-commerce giant JD.com showed that sales of electric lunch boxes increased by 138 percent year on year from Feb. 3 to 25. Rongdian Group, a company in Hefei that sells products of Royalstar, a popular Chinese home electric appliance brand, has witnessed the boom.
According to Cao Guangfeng, general manager of the company's online business department, over 150,000 electric heating lunch boxes have been sold in the last 30 days, up 300 percent from a year ago.
"Many companies have bought in bulk to distribute these items to their staff," said Cao.
Besides lunch boxes, many returned workers have added electric bicycles to their shopping carts for fear of cross infection caused by public transportation.
According to JD.com, sales of electric bicycles surged by 638 percent month on month from Feb. 3 to 25, while sales of self-balancing scooters and bicycles grew by 147 percent and 179 percent, respectively.
"Safety and prevention come first amid the epidemic. The electric bicycle spares me from taking the bus or subway to work," said Li Liang from Suzhou, eastern China's Jiangsu Province, who has bought a 2,000-yuan (280 U.S. dollars) electric bicycle online shortly after he resumed work.
Unsurprisingly, disinfectants and sterilizers are also on the shopping list of the returned workers. Data from JD.com showed that sales of disinfectants shot up by more than 800 percent year on year from Feb. 3 to 25 while that of hand sanitizers rose by 230 percent.
The rising demand for safety and health products drives companies to innovate products. Rongdian Group, for instance, has developed six new products amid the epidemic, including a thermos cup equipped with ultraviolet sterilization.
"The epidemic has brought about some changes to people's daily habits and lifestyles, which inspires us to update products to meet the changing demands," said Cao.