Pointed out that if the Japanese government does not learn from past mistakes, the number of victims of new coronavirus infection will increase


Pointed out that if the Japanese government does not learn from past mistakes, the number of victims of new coronavirus infection will increase

A paper entitled "Resurrection of COVID-19 (New Coronavirus Infection) in Japan" was published in the British medical journal "The BMJ". This is the London School of Economics (LSE)Kazuki ShimizuMr,George WhartonOf a doctor specializing in international health and medical policyHaruka SakamotoMr. LSEElias MocialosIn the paper by the professor, after summarizing the Japanese government's response to COVID-19, he points out what kind of strategy should be developed in the future.

Resurgence of covid-19 in Japan | The BMJ

Poor ventilation due to COVID-19 pandemic in JapanDenseClosed space, many gatherDenseConversation and vocalization at the gathering place, close upDenseMeasures have been taken to avoid the "three denseness" of the contact scene.

However, after the declaration of an emergency in April 2020 and the cancellation of the declaration in May 2020, the number of infected people increased again. Mortality rate per 1 million is 8.22 in the Western Pacific region, second only to the Philippines and Australia.

The paper lists several reasons why the government wasn't responding well.

First, it was pointed out that "the efforts to expand the inspection scale were insufficient". Most of the doctors' requests for PCR tests were rejected by the public health centers in each region because of the lack of acceptance of the tests. This may have led to an increase in acquired infections in the community and hospitals.

In addition, since these health systems, especially patient information reports, were paper-based, as of mid-March 2020, the public health centers were in great confusion. Also, manual work has resulted in inaccuracies and duplicate records.

Even in Tokyo, fax and manual input Corona information sharing system is not introduced even after two months: Tokyo Shimbun TOKYO Web

There is also a view that the campaign to change the behavior was not effective in avoiding the "three secrets". It was pointed out that many did not change their behavior because there was no clear motivation for behavior change.

It was stated that the government's communication strategy was also inadequate. Although it was announced that the “three secrets” should be avoided, information was not transmitted in a convincing manner regarding social distances and thorough hand washing.

In addition, it seems that the government's response was influenced by the conflict between "politics" and "science". The “Corner Virus Experts Meeting” was held under the control headquarters set up in the Cabinet, but lacked independence to give truly fair advice. In addition, there was a lack of representatives in key areas such as economics, behavioral sciences, and communication, and the process of decision-making was poorly explained. At the meeting, a recommendation was made that "contact with people should be reduced by 80%", but this content was weakened by the government as "reduce contact with people by at least 70%, ideally by 80%". ..

"10 points to reduce contact with people by 80%" was announced (new coronavirus infection) | Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare

Prime Minister Abe announces “emergency declaration'', to prevent new coronavirus infection spread-GIGAZINE

And it was pointed out that the government lacked accountability and transparency in the first place. Regarding the postponement of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games, no explanation was given as to the circumstances leading up to the decision to postpone the event.

In addition, Prime Minister Abe explained the declaration of an emergency as "different from the lockdown seen overseas," and "obstructed" his attitude to defend the measures.

"Emergency declaration = not lockdown"  Prime Minister emphasized: Asahi Shimbun Digital

In order to learn from the mistakes of the past, it is essential to scrutinize the response during the pandemic, but in June 2020, the government abolished the above-mentioned "Congress of Experts Against Coronavirus Infectious Diseases".

Unless the Japanese government shifts the new coronavirus countermeasures from “cluster-based” to a system with a clear command and control structure and communication ability, and develops cutting-edge science by learning from past mistakes, It warns that medical services will be overwhelmed again and many lives will be unnecessarily lost in the coming months.

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