In an effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, a lot of people are practising social distancing and doing all they can to stay at home. Companies too are keen to prevent the number of cases from rising. Some are encouraging employees to work from home, so as not to use commuter trains or spend longer than necessary in confined spaces such as offices.

However, not all employees are able to work effectively from home, so some companies are taking additional measures to make sure the office doesn’t become a breeding ground for the virus.

One such measure is to ask employees to take their temperature before leaving for work. Running a fever of 37.5 ° C or higher for four or more consecutive days is one symptom of the coronavirus. Many companies are asking employees not to come into work if they are running a fever.


A company employee who received a thermometer from his boss was shocked when he couldn’t find any batteries to power it. An employee of an estate agency (@toarufudousan) posted a series of tweets. “My company has made it mandatory for all employees to measure their body temperature.”

Realising that he didn’t have a thermometer at home, @toarufudousan went to his local pharmacy, only to be told that they had sold out. At every pharmacy and electronics store that he went to he was told the same thing. ‘There has been a surge in demand for thermometers, and we’ve sold out.’

“Looks like things are going the same way as masks and toilet paper!” tweeted @toarufudousan. “Fortunately, when I told my kind-hearted boss about my predicament, he made me a gift of a brand-new thermometer.

‘All it needs is a battery,’ my boss said to me. So off I went to buy one. But look what I found when I got to the batteries section of the electronics store...

Image reproduced with permission from @toarufudousan

"I needed a button-type LR-41 battery, but the store had completely sold out!

It has been hard enough to get my hands on a thermometer. Now I have the same problem tracking down a battery. I’ve tried a few other stores and looked online, but everywhere – even my local 100-yen shop – is sold out.”

Many Twitter users responded to @toarufudousan’s posts.

“What's happening in the world?" lamented one.

His conundrum raises a serious issue. Since the Japanese government introduced the state of emergency on April 7th, supplies of face masks and toilet paper have been running short. In response, the production of both has been stepped up. But what about thermometers? And what about the batteries you need to power them?

No one wants to spread the coronavirus infection by coming into contact with other people, especially when they don’t even realize that they are ill. But without a thermometer, it’s hard to know how ill you really are. Thermometers are vital tools in the struggle to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Let’s hope the shortage of thermometers is resolved as soon as possible, so everyone can measure their temperature at the first sign of a fever.

By - George Lloyd.