SAITAMA (TR) – Saitama Prefectural Police have arrested a 54-year-old man for allegedly disrupting business of a drugstore in Saitama City by claiming to have the novel coronavirus earlier this month, reports the Mainichi Shimbun (Apr. 8).
At around 10:00 a.m. on April 1, Yoshitomo Hashimoto, of no known occupation, entered the store in Iwatsuki Ward to buy breathing masks.
“I have the coronavirus,” he reportedly told a male employee, aged in his 40s. “But I wonder why the government doesn’t supply masks. All of you staff members will get it now.”
After he left by bicycle, the store was sterilized. Police later located Hashimoto after an examination of security camera footage.
“I got angry after not being to buy masks,” the suspect was quoted by the Iwatsuki Police Station.
In a separate case, a man who entered a bank in Nagoya, Aichi Prefecture on Wednesday claimed to be infected with the coronavirus, reports Chukyo Television Broadcasting (Apr. 8).
“Corona,” he reportedly said amongst customers in the MUFJ branch in Tempaku Ward. He was then quickly separated from the customers.
Officers from the Aichi Prefectural Police, attired in protective suits, apprehended the man. He is now undergoing questioning on suspicion of business disruption.
It is not known whether he indeed has the coronavirus, police said.
According to data from the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare, the number of coronavirus infections in Japan stood at more than 5,700 as of Thursday at midday.
On Tuesday, Prime Minster Shinzo Abe declared a state of emergency in Tokyo and six prefectures, including Osaka, Saitama and Kanagawa, due to the outbreak of the coronavirus.