After the most successful COVID-19 response of all the G7 nations, Japan’s COVID-19 3rd wave is alarming authorities as case numbers continue to grow.
Total infections statistics till the story. From the first recorded case on January 16, 2020 it took until October to reach 100,000 total cases.
Then just 2 more months to reach 200,000 on December 21.
Then just 3 weeks to hit 300,000. As of the weekend the total hit 330,000.
While alarming, the numbers are still nothing like those across Europe and America. Japan’s total case number remains below total deaths in the USA for example – daily deaths there are currently runnning more than the total deaths for Japan.
Tokyo broke it’s Sunday case record again yesterday (a record set only the previous week). The major urban areas of the Kanto and Kansai regions (Tokyo and Osaka and surrounding districts respectively) are as you would expect the main focus of the surge.
As the severe winter continues any spring respite is a while away yet.
The government is facing calls to toughen restrictions from medical experts and calls to loosen them from affected businesses.
Toshio Nakagawa, President of the Japan Medical Association, told a news conference last week.
He said the medical system had been increasingly overwhelmed, with some hospitals forced to turn away non-COVID-19 patients, and that government should consider a nationwide state of emergency to prevent the further spread of the novel coronavirus and ease the strain on the medical system.
On the other side of the equation, some patrons are flouting the 8pm curfew for bars and restaurants in Tokyo under the current restrictions. Corporate New Year functions and general celebrations have kick started the surge.
If current restriction levels don’t start reducing the curve soon calls for stricter measures will be inevitable.
The Pfizer vaccine is not set for approval until February, and it is feared vaccination will be affected by entrenched fears of vaccine programs in Japan based on historical precedents and prejudices.
Which all means general travel to Japan will remain restricted for some time to come.