You have probably already heard the news: the coronavirus is rapidly spreading around the world, and Japan is no exception. At this moment, the number of people in Japan diagnosed with the disease is 800, including those who were quarantined on the Diamond Princess cruise ship.
Experts continue to question the Japanese government’s approach to handling the situation with the ship as passengers began unloading and heading back to their homes. Although the coronavirus might not be as deadly as some people may imagine (the chance of dying from it is approx. 2%) it is better to be extra cautious to avoid getting sick. Therefore, we prepared some recommendations on how to keep the disease at bay the best that you can. Those recommendations can help you not only protect yourself from the coronavirus, but avoid other infectious diseases as well.
- Wash your hands
According to the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, the main source of the infection is objects that were touched by those infected. So listen to the old advice given to you by your mom and wash your hands with soap and warm water, especially after you ride a packed Tokyo train. If there is no soap around, you can wash your hands with alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Follow the “Cough Etiquette”
Have you ever heard that there is a wrong and right way to cough and sneeze? Pretend that you are Dracula and cover your mouth and nose with your elbow when sneezing. That prevents the spread of germs and viruses from your hands to other objects. Be kind to others (including salarymen, they have to work a lot), and keep your germs to yourself.
- Stay away from people (at least 1 meter away)
If you are a hikikomori (social recluse) this is not an issue for you, but if you are socially active or find yourself out and about during the day, try to keep a distance of at least one meter between yourself and other people (which is unfortunately almost impossible during rush hour in Tokyo). Be particularly aware of people who cough or sneeze. Many events are being canceled as a precaution for the coronavirus.
- Try not to touch your eyes, nose and mouth
There may be a chance that your hands are contaminated with the virus, and by touching your face you are allowing it to spread further into your body. As mentioned above, wash your hands to stay safe. Wearing masks may only have so much impact in preventing the disease, but people have noticed that it has kept them from touching their faces as much.
- Seek help if you have any symptoms of a cold
It is better to stay home if you don’t feel well. If you have symptoms of a cold such as a fever and/or cough, you should seek help at your local hospital. The authorities usually have all the latest information on the virus so they are able to help. However, since coronavirus test kits are limited, you may not be allowed to take a test for the virus.
- Avoid traveling to China
The Great Wall, Shanghai’s skyscrapers, dumplings, there are many things to try and see in China, but now is not the best time to travel there. The Chinese government is implementing measures to contain the virus and you can help them by postponing your visit to China.
- Wear a mask
If you think that you may be infected you must wear a mask to not spread the virus. You can still wear a mask to save yourself from getting infected but unfortunately, it is effective only to a little extent. However, as mentioned above, it keeps you from continuously touching your face, and therefore possibly heightening your risk of infection. It may be difficult to get your hands on some, as masks have been selling out all over the country, and people are lining up outside of drugstores in the morning to be the first in line to purchase them.
- Stay informed
Although the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare was criticized for the lack of information on the virus available in foreign languages, recently it has been trying to improve its communications with the foreign audiences. The Ministry has an official English language website and machine translation is also available for their Japanese website, not only for English language speakers, but for Korean and Chinese speakers as well.
It is troubling times now but by following the steps above you can reduce a chance of getting sick. Stay safe!
Artem // Russia