Workers at Japan's Fukushima nuclear plant may need to wear plastic raincoats as the coronavirus flare-up is threatening the production of protective suits in China, where their suppliers are based, an operator warned on Tuesday.
Staff cleaning up the crippled plant wear special plastic overcoats to prevent radioactive dust settling on clothes or the body, with the TEPCO operator stating as many as 6,000 items are used daily.
"For example, we have coats with transparent pockets showing an ID badge and their radiation measuring device and it is possible these same products are not available", the TEPCO spokesman explained, as cited by The Straits Times.
He assumed regular, commonly available raincoats might soon be the only possible option for staffers at the almost deserted nuclear plant where cleaning efforts have been underway ever since it was damaged in overwhelming tsunamis off the Japanese coast in 2011. The nuclear reactors are expected to take 40 years to be fully dismantled there.
Separately, on Monday, Apple lamented that it has little hope of meeting its second quarterly revenue plan due to lower iPhone supply globally and poorer Chinese demand at home attributed to the coronavirus outbreak.
As many as over 72,000 people have come down with coronavirus, codenamed the COVID-19, around the world. The illness has mainly affected China, which is largely in quarantine, with over 1,800 succumbing to the disease, and about 12,000 recovering.
The virus causes severe pneumonia, and spreads among people, although it is not clear how easily the infection is transmitted.
Сoronavirus cases have to date been registered in 25 countries, with the WHO approving strict guidelines and protocols on how to battle the infection.