How has Japan managed to prevent the spread of COVID-19 infection?


The Government has issued updated guidelines which we are adopting on a daily basis.

Confirmed case and Death figures of 3 countries, those figures are extracted from WHO daily situation reports.  This would enable us public to know where we stand at this moment;-

💥In the UK our statistics are similar level that of Italy on the 8th of March.💥

coronavirus WHO pandemic europe


Published 18th March 2020, updated 21st March, 23rd March

In the UK, new case has risen alarmingly this week, but we are still on time to prevent overshoot. From Friday night, the government asked restaurants, pubs, cafes and bars to close etc.

New confirmed case and New death numbers in Europe are increasing. Italy with high percentage of elderly population reached 3407 deaths as at 20th of March,  exceeding that of China, 3253 deaths, to date still increasing dramatically.

💥In the UK our statistics are similar level that of Italy on the 8th of March.💥

Yesterday, we witnessed so many people still not respecting Social Distancing in Bolton’s Bench area in New Forest.

“To ensure that the UK government’s strategy is implemented effectively, it is imperative that each and every citizen in the UK cooperate in actions to prevent secondary transmission.”

Key point is public awareness, not FEAR!

The followings in Italic are extract translation from NHK article of “Discussion amongst medical specialists (9th March 2020)” for your reference.

In this anxiety provoking environment, I hope this translation would give some directions what we can do in our daily life to prevent the spread. Rather than over anxious or getting into a panic.

What can we learn from cases in Japan?

What should be done in daily life to prevent rapid spread of infection?

In Japan, to date, there have been cases in which the occurrence of “Clusters”  been detected relatively early.

This has led to a slower rate of infection growth compared to other countries where the number of infections is increasing at a rapid pace.

With clinical data to date, it has become clearer that actions to avoid places and scenes that are prone to outbreaks could prevent rapid spread of infection. 

So what are the scenes to avoid?

Common factors of infection cases

Common factors of cases in which outbreaks have been confirmed so far are the following three conditions that occurred simultaneously.

  1. A closed space with poor ventilation (➡︎open windows)
  2. High density of people (➡︎keep 1-2meter distance between people)
  3. Conversation and utterance at short distances (➡︎avoid such places).

In other words, the following three actions are recommended.

  1. Ventilate (open windows in two directions simultaneously if possible)
  2. Decrease the density of people (Keep 1-2meter distance between people)
  3. Avoid conversation and utterance at short distance (Avoid such gatherings or places, if unavoidable, then put on a mask )

Japan’s basic strategy for preventing the spread of infection

The specific strategy in Japan has been

  1. Early detection and early response of clusters (groups)
  2. Early diagnosis of patients and Enhance intensive care for critically ill patients and Secure medical provision system
  3. Citizen’s behaviour change

This, three pillar strategy, is in line with the strategy recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) and is equivalent to that of Singapore, Hong Kong, etc.

On the other hand, in  countries where infection has spread more rapidly than in Japan, the spread of infection cannot be controlled by a strategy like Japan alone, and a strategy must be adopted to significantly restrict people’s behaviour and activities.

To recap current UK Government’s guidelines

[Withdrawn] COVID-19: guidance for households with possible coronavirus infection
Stay at home guidance for households with possible coronavirus (COVID-19) infection.
  • If you have symptoms of coronavirus infection (COVID-19), however mild, do not leave your home for 7 days from when your symptoms started. Do not need to call NHS 111 to go into self-isolation.
  • Seek prompt medical attention if your illness is worsening. If it’s not an emergency, contact NHS 111 online.  If you have no internet access, you should call NHS 111.
  • If it is an emergency and you need to call an ambulance, dial 999 and inform the call handler or operator that you have coronavirus (COVID-19).   [*]            Source:

To recap COVID-19 symptoms by WHO

Based upon over 70,000 clinical cases in China, this WHO video informs us typical symptoms of COVID-19 around 7:08 onwards.

  • fever
  • (dry) cough
  • unwell, tiredness, muscle pain
  • with COVID-19, very few people have running nose or sneeze
  • If you have difficulty breathing, seek medical attention! [*]2nd & 3rd point above
Q&A on Coronavirus – COVID-19 with WHO's Dr Maria Van Kerkhove

Factors preventing spread of COVID-19 in Japan

In Japan, Medical institutions have high medical standards, in addition, local governments and health centres have advanced research capabilities. In preparation for the spread of infection in the future, it is indispensable to strengthen the systems of these institutions and to cooperate and share information over a wide area.

And there is a strong sense of cooperation among citizens in Japan

To ensure that this strategy is implemented, it is imperative that each and every citizen cooperate in actions to prevent secondary transmission.

What we know of COVID-19 as of 19th March 2020

COVID-19 is a new type of virus that we do not know fully yet.  However compared with the time when we first saw spread in Wuhan, much knowledge gained, although there are still many unknown aspects.

Amongst infected populations,  80% of the patients have mild symptoms and no treatment required.  20% of infected people (elderly or those with underlying medical conditions ) required inpatient treatment. Amongst the latter, about 5% developed serious conditions and some died.

What we can do in the UK

  • Do not go out even if you have a mild cold symptom, self-isolation for 7 days.
  • Avoid to be in a poorly ventilated space.
  • Do not go close to people or places where you talk at close distances.  Keep 2m distance.
  • For those who do not have symptoms, do outdoor activities with little contact with people, such as forest walking for your wellbeing!


It is advised that we should avoid closed environment, whilst well ventilation is recommended.

As PM told us today, to control COVID-19 spread, it depends on collective, resolute action and more discipline in doing that.”

It is imperative that each and every citizen cooperate in actions to prevent secondary transmission.

The best way to protect ourselves

Based upon advice provided by WHO and NHS, the best way to protect ourselves is to keep clean environment with good ventilation.

In addition to the clean and well-ventilated environment, social-isolation, based upon WHO’s advice those are the main points to protect ourselves from the virus.

  • Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly
  • Use a tissue for coughs and sneezes, throw away the tissue into a closed bin, then wash your hands.
  • Avoid touching your mouth, nose and eyes, around your face. (especially in super market while you are using a trolley)
  • Avoid stale air in a closed room.
  • Observe 2 metre distance.
  • Provide adequate room ventilation, open windows every 2-3 hours during the day to keep the room air fresh.


Be vigilant, but you do not need to be over anxious!

With gratitude and great respect for the medical professionals who are working day and night to support others and tackling this new virus 🙏🏻

Etsuko Ito MSc. 


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