Healthy & Fitness Article
Many countries have declared restrictive measures, such as lockdown, shelter in place, or stay at home orders, to contain the pandemic at a local level. However, the wildly differing responses and response timelines have left people wondering if authorities failed to take the situation seriously early on when they could have done more to slow down the spread of the coronavirus.
China appeared to manage the coronavirus outbreak effectively, putting in place early travel bans within the country itself. As early as January 23, Chinese authorities declared a nationwide travel ban, which, some experts suggest, may have averted over 700,000 COVID-19 cases within the country.
Earlier in April, China eased the lockdown measures in Wuhan, the original epicenter of the new coronavirus outbreak, amid celebrations that the nation had beaten the virus.
Nevertheless, a recent study assessing the likely number of COVID-19 deaths in the country suggests that the virus may have hit even harder than the authorities initially thought.
Given the development of the situation in China, many people have been questioning the appropriateness of measures that other countries around the world have taken.
Earlier in April, Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe declared a state of emergency. This allowed the authorities to ask people to stay at home, though the government has not enforced closures or restrictions.
This state of emergency should remain in place until early May, though the steady number of COVID-19 cases has reportedly moved doctors in Japan to warn of an impending breakdown in their health care system.
Japan state of emergency filled with ‘ambiguity’
People in Japan have also started to express worry that the government is not doing enough to contain the crisis.
Chris, who recently moved to Japan from Europe, has spoken to Medical News Today. He told us what the state of emergency looked like in Yokohama, where he currently lives.
“Effectively, the government has requested that businesses and schools close where possible or promote [working from home] … but it can only request, it can’t actually make it a law,” Chris told us.
“Whilst many large businesses in Yokohama (especially around the big train stations) appear to have complied with the request, the trains are still pretty cramped during rush hour, and some restaurants and cafes are remaining open,” he added.
Chris told MNT that the lack of a stricter response from the authorities means that it can be hard to comply with the advised measures.
“[Although] supermarkets are promoting social distancing measures at the tills (with spaced markers, and transparent plastic screens to protect the cashiers), within the stores themselves, with the narrow aisles, it’s impossible to keep your distance from other people,” he said.
“[L]earning the news [from] abroad [about the pandemic], I […] became more stressed [before] the announcement of the declaration [of a state of emergency] which was made in April, due to the lack of carefulness of people in Japan (for example, group-shopping at the supermarkets, social drinking, etc.),” Misato, who lives
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