At the very beginning of the rapid spread of the coronavirus, virologists in Japan pointed out that a total lockdown would neither help nor stop the virus dissemination. It was just impossible to detect all those infected and their contacts in such a densely populated country. Besides, it would require an incredibly large number of tests, which were not available at the very beginning of the pandemic. The situation was also complicated by the fact that most of the Japanese citizens who fell ill did not notice any particular symptom. Instead of rolling out the coronavirus testing for everyone, the authorities analyzed the problem more deeply and realized that people could protect themselves from being infected by applying the so-called "Three Cs" principle. It says that people should carefully avoid three things: closed spaces, crowded places, and close-contact settings. "One of our focuses has been retrospective contact tracing, which tracks past activities of infected people to discover possible sources of infection and thereby identify clusters. This investigation revealed that the ‘Three Cs’ are the major risk factors that could lead to the occurrence of clusters," SAITO Tomoya, director of the Department of Health Crisis Management said. To follow these simple rules, people do not need to lock themselves inside their houses and wait for the disaster to end. Notably, all these measures were advisory, not compulsory.
Finding new ways
During the pandemic, the Japanese abided by one simple rule, which was "Trust the government and follow its recommendations. The government looked for efficient ways to protect its citizens. Japan, being one of the leading IT countries, turned its attention to computer technologies. With the help of simulations on the fastest modern computer, experts were able to find out that "chess" or diagonal sitting in the subway cars, as well as face masks and good ventilation, can reduce the risk of infection by 75%. A similar study was conducted in relation to restaurants that were recommended not to put more than 4 guests at one table. In addition, Japanese scientists discovered that the main route of transmission of infection was airborne. Therefore, the government built its virus-fight strategy according to this fact. The authorities worked hard to ensure clean air and good ventilation inside the buildings. Companies and other public buildings began to install carbon dioxide meters and monitor that this indicator did not rise above 1,000 units. If these conditions are met, then the room is considered safe.
Wearing of masks
As for the wearing of masks, the residents of Japan have worn them before the pandemic. Thus, this is not a novelty for them. However, statistics showed that with the mandatory wearing of masks and their proper use, citizens got sick much less. Even the wave of seasonal diseases, such as the flu, was not so big as usual. The infection rates fell by 100 times. In 2020, only 148 people got the flu in ten weeks. Usually, 17,000 people have the flu seasonally. For instance, statistics for previous years confirmed this fact.
One of the key factors why Japan is dealing well with the pandemic is that the country has mandatory childhood immunizations. It is established by a government decree. Perhaps, it played a vital role in developing the citizens' strong immunity, which helped to better cope with the emergency situation. Apart from that, the immunity of people in the Asian region is slightly higher than that of people in the European part of the world. This has already been proven by scientists. The climate and adverse weather conditions of Japan make people more resilient to any virus.
No need to hurry
Japan is among those countries that are not in a hurry to carry out mass vaccination of the population. In the best case scenario, Japan will roll out mass vaccination at the end of February if the government gives its approval. Meanwhile, it is unwilling to start vaccination. The attitude of Asians to the vaccine was laconically yet accurately articulated by Dr. Jeremy Lim, an associate professor at the National University of Singapore. He says that no matter how fast you do something. What matters is how you perform. In the end, what matters is the result. It seems that the Japanese also sticks to this approach.