In Japan, surgical or sickness masks are worn for a variety of reasons (including fashion and a sense of anonymity and privacy), but largely as a common courtesy when one is feeling ill and as a measure against hay fever and spreading sickness. With rising concerns regarding the ongoing coronavirus has lead to an increase in mindfulness about wearing masks and using disinfectant alcohol spray routinely. Unfortunately, some stores have been struggling to keep up with the demand for such products, leading to shortages and imposed purchasing limits for customers. In turn, the scarcity of masks has resulted in some looking to take advantage with resale of masks at inflated prices, Kyodo News reports.

Japanese medical worker @naa_pisimo recently took to Twitter to reveal some of the resulting behavior they've noticed at hospitals, and admonishing against it.

"This is a request from the hospital front-lines.

Please don't come to the hospital just ask doctors and nurses to sell you masks.

No matter how pushy or pleading you are about it, we can't sell them to you.

It's the same even if you come to the inpatient ward. Both patients and hospital staff are also lacking in their own supply of masks.

Please do not take the spray alcohol we have installed here home with you. It is a terrible inconvenience.

Please stop transferring our spray alcohol into your own personal spray bottle then taking it home.

We ourselves do not have enough on hand.

Many people are coming to the hospital to treat influenza, so please cooperate with influenza prevention measures."

Response to the Tweet has largely been alarm at the idea of inconveniencing and stealing from hospitals, who despite their own lack of supplies, need all they can get to take care of patients and save lies. Here are a few responses from Twitter:

"This is too cruel. Hospitals need those supplies because they are hospitals."

"Alcohol disinfectant spray has been stolen at the hospital I work at."

"This should be considered theft. Where did their morals go?"

"Are there really people like this? Unbelievable. It's more appalling than it is angering."

Clearly, retail shortages of masks and spray at a time like this can be frustrating. Stealing from and bothering those in need, who are already impacted by the shortage, is not the solution, however.

By - grape Japan editorial staff.