All About Japan

Mask Shortage Amid Fears of Coronavirus

| Health , Life in Japan
Mask Shortage Amid Fears of Coronavirus

As a country that takes matters of health quite seriously (anyone that tests positive with the flu must stay home from school or work for a set period), it may come as no surprise that fear of the spread of coronavirus has had an affect on the availability of paper masks that are ubiquitous during the winter flu season.

The line at this store southwest of Tokyo stretches outside onto the pavement. People aren’t trying to see a celebrity or buy the latest sneakers – they’re buying surgical masks. As the Wuhan coronavirus spreads, retailers cannot keep the preventative item on shelves and manufacturers can’t make enough. Drug stores have sold out of masks mere hours after opening.

Online, masks are fetching high prices. This lot of 420 is going for about 1,500 dollars, triple the usual price. Even with factories in the country working to increase production, manufacturers in Japan are urging people not to hoard so that there is enough to go around.