Japan’s low virus control alert worries netizens

By Xu Keyue and Bai Yunyi Source:Global Times Published: 2020/2/17 23:58:40

Relatives of passengers wave towards the Diamond Princess cruise ship, with around 3,600 people quarantined onboard due to the novel coronavirus, as the ship departs from the Daikoku Pier Cruise Terminal in Yokohama, Japan, on Tuesday to dump waste water and generate potable water.  Photo: AFP

Video footage featuring hundreds of Japanese people gathering for the country's annual "Naked Festival" has gone viral since Monday morning on Chinese social media platforms, which stoked worries among Chinese netizens that a neighboring country with such a lack of epidemic control and quarantine awareness could potentially repeat a similar mistake Wuhan made in the early stages of COVID-19 outbreak. 

Such worries regarding Japan grew naturally among the Chinese public, as Japan has already experienced a fierce surge in the number of confirmed infections, and with over 500 confirmed cases, the country has already become home for the biggest cluster of infection in the world outside China.

Netizens also expressed waves of similar concerns after learning about the schedules of a number of public events in Japan with potential huge crowds present remaining unchanged despite the epidemic situation, and they said such a low degree of caution the Japanese government takes on the virus sees Japan emerge on the same path to become the next Wuhan, the COVID-19 outbreak center, where strict and effective quarantine and viral control measures were not timely implemented at first.

For instance, both Kumamoto and Kitakyushu, two major Japanese cities on the island of Kyushu held the Sunday Marathon games with about 14,000 participants and 12,000 participants respectively.

A total of 513 people in Japan have been confirmed to have been infected with the virus, Japanese official data shows.

"Wuhan residents also had taken the epidemic lightly which partly contributed to the subsequent outbreak," a Net user wrote.

"I don't think there would be a large-scale outbreak of COVID-19 in Japan. However, as the situation could shift in a flash, the next one to two weeks will be crucial in determining whether a major outbreak of the COVID-19 will occur in Japan," Oishi Kazunori, director at the Institute of Health Studies in Toyama prefecture, Japan told the Global Times on Monday.

If a viral breakout occurs in Japan, China's sharing of information regarding the virus will be of great help for the country to overcome the epidemic, he noted.

China is willing to share information and experiences in conjunction with Japan over the fight against the epidemic, and provide necessary support and assistance within its own capability, and the two sides have already got down to conducting relevant exchanges, Chinese Foreign Ministry said on Monday.


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