Why is Japan not in lockdown? It’s a concern I’ve been asked many times by good friends all over the world. That’s not unexpected given what’s going on in Europe and America. But it is perhaps the wrong concern. Taiwan, Hong Kong, South Korea and most of mainland China, have also never ever had full lockdowns.
For those trying to understand what’s going on in Japan, the far more puzzling concern is why there is so little testing for Covid-19
When you take a look at Germany or South Korea, Japan’s testing figures look like they’re missing an absolutely no.
Take Tokyo, population 9.3 million, and centre of Japan’s epidemic. Considering that February, just 10,981 individuals have actually been tested for Covid-19 Of those, simply over 4,000 were favorable.
But those figures are striking both since the number tested is so small and since the portion testing positive is so high.
What it shows is Japan is only testing people who are currently rather ill. The main guidelines for physicians say they must just advise a test if the client has pneumonia.
When we asked why the level of testing done is about half of the capability weeks after the federal government has started to ramp up its screening, a health ministry authorities described it shows the variety of tests medical professionals are recommending.
This is leading to some rather remarkable stories from those attempting to get tested.
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Among the small number of deaths are famous comic Ken Shimura and starlet Kumiko Okae. High profile infected people consist of 7 sumo wrestlers, a TV presenter, 2 former expert baseball gamers, and a well-known screen writer.
” Currently 70%-80%of new infections tape-recorded in Tokyo do not originate from any previously understood cluster,” says Dr Yoshitake Yokokura, the head of the Japan Medical Association. “We require more prompt screening and we require the results more quickly.”
According to main figures, the number of brand-new infections in Tokyo has now been succumbing to over a week. Good news? Not necessarily.
” I want to believe the numbers are really decreasing,” says Dr Yokokura, “but the number of tests is inadequate to tell that.”
This has direct implications for Japan’s ability to raise its state of emergency, which is presently expected to end on 6 May.
” It is not possible to raise the state of emergency situation at this stage,” says Dr Yokokura. “We need a sustained decrease in brand-new cases, and we require the reproduction rate (the variety of people that one contaminated individual will pass the infection onto, typically) to be well below one to do that.”
Today Japan starts its ‘Golden Week’ holiday. According to the governor of Okinawa, 60,000 people have actually booked flights to the island throughout the vacation.
Governor Denny Tamaki is pleading with them to keep away.
” I am sorry to inform you however Okinawa is under a state of emergency situation,” he composed on social networks. “Please cancel your trip to Okinawa now.”
The weather condition for the next week is looking hot and sunny. Individuals will be lured to head to the beaches and mountains and, without understanding it, some percentage will undoubtedly be taking the virus with them.
Teacher Shibuya states it is necessary that Japan now abandon its existing strategy and increase screening.
” Without much wider testing,” he says, “it will be extremely hard to end this pandemic.”