Due to the continuing spread of COVID-19 over the last several months, surgical masks are scarce, worrying healthcare workers treating those infected with the coronavirus.
Prime Minister Abe Shinzo promised two masks for every household across Japan, drawing backlash from many on social media and the hashtag #abenomask.
Then came the memes:
All jokes aside, there have been much more serious consequences caused by the mask shortage.
Back in March when some drug stores and supermarkets were still getting occasional shipments of masks, many people could be seen lined up in front of the stores before they opened. There have been stories of polite and orderly customers even sharing the last pack of masks with each other.
But not everyone has been so patient and considerate.
It was early morning and the store wasn’t open yet. An elderly person pried open the store’s automatic door entrance and invaded the store.
Upon entering the store, the customer found a shipment of masks and cried out, “They’ve got masks!” whereby more and more customers frantically ran into the store.
It states that the police will be notified if anyone enters the store or warehouse outside of business hours, as this is considered trespassing and obstruction of business.
Incidentally, it was reported that the masks at the store had been ordered not for sale to customers, but for a nearby nursing home and a private hospital that were unable to obtain masks on their own.