The situation with the new coronavirus in Japan

A panel of experts advising the Japanese government on the coronavirus crisis released an assessment report Thursday in which it proposes to reopen some schools that were closed as a response to the epidemic. However, he recommends continuing to avoid large crowds that could reactivate the contagion. The Japanese government will analyze the experts' report before making a decision, Secretary Yoshihide Suga said.

Is there a coronavirus in Japan

The Japanese government unveiled its measures to contain the epidemic on Tuesday. The announcement came a day after a group of experts warned that Japan was on the verge of escalating its infection data. The country of 126 million has had 161 indigenous infections, one of whom has died, making it the fourth-highest number of infections behind China, South Korea and Italy. In many cases, the origin is unclear, making it difficult to control distribution. Japan has 923 cases and 32 deaths, according to the latest figures from public broadcaster NHK. Of the country's 47 prefectures, 22 had fewer than five cases.

How Japan is fighting the coronavirus

The recommendation to reopen schools and allow sporting events is limited to areas in Japan where Covid-19 cases are low, warned Koji Wanda, professor of public health at Tokyo International Health University and one of the panellists. “There are some areas where virtually all patients have been identified in the last two weeks. So in these areas, schools can be reopened, even now,” he said.

Experts emphasize that crowds of citizens should continue to be avoided. A recommendation that appears on the eve of the three-day cherry blossom festival, which often draws thousands of people on the streets. “We will continue to ask people to avoid gathering in large groups,” Wada said. Priority will be given to treating the most vulnerable populations so as not to overburden hospitals and prevent the spread of infection among at-risk groups (the elderly and people with other illnesses) .

Basketball championship resumed in Japan

The last match we played was February 23rd which was the first in the league and everything has been postponed ever since. The competition should resume on April 3rd.

In sports, drastic measures have already begun. The Tokyo Marathon will take place on Sunday, but only with the participation of elite athletes. In addition, the J-League football league has suspended its matches until March 15. In an interview with The Associated Press, Dick Pound of the International Olympic Committee said that in three months they will decide what will happen to the Tokyo 2020 Games (scheduled for July 24 - August 9). At the moment, the training of volunteers of the event has been postponed.

Protective measures against coronavirus

In Hokkaido, one of the prefectures with the highest number of cases, Gov. Naomichi Suzuki said his administration is ready to relax measures taken to contain the epidemic. He announced that the emergency phase would end on Thursday. “We will finish declaring a state of emergency this Thursday, March 19, and from Friday, March 20, we will enter a new phase,” he said. On Wednesday, 154 people were infected in Hokkaido.

During the course of this pandemic, Japan closed schools and canceled sporting events, but did not impose severe restrictions on travel, restaurants and businesses.

Some mistakes in Japan's leadership are explained by the rigidity of its bureaucracy. Japan does not have an independent agency responsible for disease prevention and control, and no officials trained to respond to this crisis. The lead body is the National Institute of Infectious Diseases of the Ministry of Health. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, whose popularity has been hurt by the slump, has announced that he will "consider" setting up an independent body.

The Japanese government's sense of urgency contrasts with the slow response in the early days of the crisis. When the first return flight from Wuhan arrived in late January, passengers voluntarily decided whether they should be tested for the virus. Two refused. There is also no mandatory quarantine in a designated place, as well as in private homes.

In schools with infected students or workers, classes have been suspended. This is the case with a high school in Ebetsu that has an infected teacher and will be closed until the 6th. The Ministry of Education is considering asking schools in the affected areas to cancel classes. The Ministry of Education is considering asking schools in the affected areas to cancel classes.

The "Diamond Princess" quarantine has been heavily criticized. Within days, the ship became the largest source of infection outside of China. However, Tokyo did not isolate the passengers and allowed them to leave the ship on 3 February. In quarantine, 23 passengers were not examined. Health Minister Katsunabu Kato even had to apologize.

Last week Professor Kentaro Iwata, an expert in the fight against infectious diseases, boarded the Diamond Princess and denounced the situation on the ship. The absence of a team of specialists led to the adoption of "inadequate" preventive measures, such as the failure to define the boundaries of areas free of viruses and possibly infected.

The crisis is coming as the school year draws to a close and many colleges and universities are planning their graduation ceremonies in March. Some, like Akita International University, will be suspended.

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