There have been no reported cases of COVID-19 among the roughly 47,000 residents of Hioki, a coastal city in Kagoshima Prefecture, but that hasn't prevented efforts to stop the spread of the virus.
At a 7-Eleven in the city's Ijuin neighborhood, transparent plastic sheets hang between cashiers and customers to block any pathogen-laced droplets produced by coughing and sneezing. Face masks delivered from the convenience store chain’s headquarters are worn by employees, who are also asked to take their own temperature every day before work. Anything above 37.5 degrees Celsius and they stay home.
These anti-contamination measures have been introduced at many of 7-Eleven's 20,938 outlets nationwide, but the more interesting changes are coming from consumers. Bananas and bottled water have been flying off shelves, for example, while previously popular onigiri (rice balls) and ready-to-eat sandwiches sit largely untouched.