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COVID-19 Coronavirus: situation in Japan

thomas

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People need their rituals. It might be better to hope that people will be smart enough to do their oshogatsu rituals safely rather than forgo them.

hatsumode.jpg


Hopefully. The shrines will certainly not forgo their most lucrative season.

Meanwhile, JR East, Tokyo Metro, Keisei Electric Railway and Keikyu Corp. announced that they will not run all-night trains on New Year’s Eve through New Year’s Day, as a measure to reduce the spread of the novel coronavirus. For JR East, the cancellation of the train services will be the first since 1987.

 

musicisgood

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I mentioned 2000 to 5000 infections per day in Japan a while back and it was like no way.
 

thomas

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Meiji Shrine will close its gates on the New Year's Eve to avoid spreading the coronavirus. Other shrines, like Yasaka Shrine in Kyoto, replaced the rope for bell-ringing with an electronic system. But ironically, Yasaka Shrine is now considering removing the novel system for the New Year season over fears it may attract curious visitors and create crowds.

The shrine attracts about 3 million visitors during the first three days of January every year. Usually, its three gates are open all night on New Year's Eve to allow worshippers to enter. But the shrine decided to shut the gates at 4 p.m. on December 31, and re-open them at 6 a.m. on January 1, while calling on people to spread out their visits to avoid congestion. Meiji Jingu also plans to set up signs to ask visitors to avoid close-contact and exercise social-distancing when forming lines to offer their prayers. From January 1 to 4, food stands will be banned from operating in the shrine, and a restaurant within the shrine compound will remain closed.


 

musicisgood

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Health Alert – December 22, 2020
Location: Japan
Date: December 22, 2020

COVID-19 in Japan

The U.S. Embassy and consulates continue to monitor closely COVID-19 conditions in Japan. Case numbers continue to rise throughout the country. Several areas, including Tokyo, are posting record or near-record numbers daily. Prefectural and local governments indicate that healthcare capacity, including critical care bed space and medical personnel staffing, is becoming strained. On December 17, Tokyo Governor Koike raised Tokyo’s health care alert system to its highest level for the first time since ending the state of emergency in May, indicating that the government task force believes hospitals could soon be overwhelmed. According to press reports, the Tokyo government is concerned that as many as 80 per cent of the city’s hospitals and clinics will close during the New Year period, which will further constrain health care capacity.

The national government and many prefectural governments have begun announcing new COVID-19 mitigation measures. The national government announced that the “Go To Travel” campaign will be suspended from December 28 through January 11. Governor Koike continues to urge residents to minimize outings and reconsider travelling during the New Year period.

The U.S. Embassy strongly urges U.S. citizens throughout Japan to monitor changes to prefectural government alerts, especially when considering travel across prefectures. U.S. citizens should continue to follow all measures introduced by Japanese national and local government officials to mitigate COVID-19 outbreaks in their areas. The Government of Japan has renewed calls for residents to wear masks and take other common-sense COVID-19 mitigation precautions. Residents should continue to avoid the “Three Cs:” closed spaces, crowded spaces, and close-contact settings.

U.S. citizens are strongly urged to continue to take personal health measures to protect themselves, including social distancing, wearing masks, and avoiding crowded areas with poor ventilation. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) strongly recommend that U.S. citizens get flu shots to prevent a major flu outbreak. To reduce the spread of infection, U.S. citizens should consider minimizing their travel over the upcoming New Year holiday period.

U.S. Mission Japan personnel continue to follow practices recommended by the U.S. and Japanese Governments, including social distancing and mask wearing, to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The United States Government does not plan to provide COVID-19 vaccinations to private U.S. citizens overseas.  Please follow host country developments and guidelines for COVID-19 vaccination. According to media reporting, the Japanese Government intends to pursue expedited approval of vaccines. U.S. citizens in Japan should consult with their medical providers.

United States Forces Japan bases have instituted a number of restrictions based on local conditions. Many restrictions are specific to individual bases or areas. For more information, please contact base command officials.

The U.S. Congress passed a stimulus bill including an additional series of direct payments. The U.S. Embassy in Tokyo has no insight into the processing of these payments and cannot intervene with banks which decline to process paper checks. For information or assistance with these payments, please contact the Internal Revenue Service.

Travel Restrictions

Japanese government travel restrictions remain in place that prevent most U.S. citizens from entering the country. Japan continues to modify its policies to facilitate certain kinds of travel. For complete information on travel restrictions, as well as requirements for reentry, please consult the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs or the Ministry of Justice.

Travel for tourism and most other short-term purposes is still not permitted, and there is no indication that this will change in the near term.

The U.S. Embassy strongly urges any U.S. citizens considering travel to Japan to carefully review the information available from the Government of Japan. Please note these regulations are subject to change with little notice. The U.S. Embassy’s ability to intervene on behalf of travellers denied boarding at their point of embarkation or denied entry upon arrival to Japan is extremely limited, and those travellers denied entry at Japanese ports of entry will likely be immediately reboarded on flights back to the United States.

U.S. military members travelling under the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) have different travel regulations governing their entry into Japan. They should check with their command before commencing any travel to ensure they comply with all necessary requirements. The U.S. Embassy and consulates cannot answer questions about SOFA travel.
 

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Total BS. The US embassy should be warning citizens not to go "home", pointing out how much safer it is to stay in Japan. (or Korea, or Taiwan, or China, or Vietnam...)
 

mdchachi

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Total BS. The US embassy should be warning citizens not to go "home", pointing out how much safer it is to stay in Japan. (or Korea, or Taiwan, or China, or Vietnam...)
How dare you impugn the U.S. for their covid handling. As you can see things are just fine here.

(Note, this is not [email protected] inaka, it's NYC! Not sure whether to laugh or cry)
 

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As always, a little update on the numbers:


Nationwide infections:

16/12 (Wed)17/12 (Thu)18/12 (Fri)19/12 (Sat)20/12 (Sun)21/12 (Mon)22/12 (Tue)23/12 (Wed)
2,9933,2112,8292,9912.4961,8062,6883,248

Nationwide deaths - Seriously Ill:

16/12 (Wed)17/12 (Thu)18/12 (Fri)19/12 (Sat)20/12 (Sun)21/12 (Mon)22/12 (Tue)23/12 (Wed)
53 - 61838 - 60547 - 60938 - 59836 - 59348 - 60349 - 62032 - 653

Infections in selected prefectures:

16/12 (Wed)17/12 (Thu)18/12 (Fri)19/12 (Sat)20/12 (Sun)21/12 (Mon)22/12 (Tue)23/12 (Wed)
Tokyo618822664736556392563748
Osaka396309412311250180283313
Hokkaido8613924113213511074114
Aichi24823814123016092190239
Kanagawa287319295315239188348346
Chiba123148150128119117152142
Saitama179196201226161117196230
Hyogo13516412812710444190?
Okinawa3618322022212137



Japan will impose restrictions on travellers from the UK because of the new virus strain:

The immigration authority will ban new entries of foreign nationals who have been in the U.K. in the past 14 days and suspend the exemption of a 14-day self-quarantine measure for short-term business travelers who have returned to Japan from the U.K., said Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato in a regular briefing. Beginning Sunday, the government will additionally require Japanese citizens to submit upon entry a negative result from a virus test taken within 72 hours before departure — a measure already mandatory for foreign nationals with valid residential permits seeking to re-enter the country. If they can’t submit the test result, they will be asked to stay in designated accommodation provided by the authorities and quarantine for 14 days.


And this is just in:


Bloomberg's Covid Resilience Ranking: Japan is down from 2 to 7.

Covid Resilience Ranking

bloomberg-cooovid-resilience.png
 

Lothor

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thomas

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The last update this year. Basically, every weekday saw new record numbers in Tokyo and surrounding prefectures.


Nationwide infections:

24/12 (Thu)25/12 (Fri)26/12 (Sat)27/12 (Sun)28/12 (Mon)29/12 (Tue)30/12 (Wed)
3,7403,8313,8772,9482.4003,6093,834

Nationwide deaths - Seriously Ill:

24/12 (Thu)25/12 (Fri)26/12 (Sat)27/12 (Sun)28/12 (Mon)29/12 (Tue)30/12 (Wed)
54 - 64463 - 64447 - 65440 - 65951 - 66159 - 67543 - ?

Infections in selected prefectures:

24/12 (Thu)25/12 (Fri)26/12 (Sat)27/12 (Sun)28/12 (Mon)29/12 (Tue)30/12 (Wed)
Tokyo888884949708481856944
Osaka289294299233150302307
Hokkaido123139161859487133
Aichi270265265216122235294
Kanagawa495466480343334395432
Chiba234213201105175216218
Saitama251298265211184300244
Hyogo152232175165108193188
Okinawa48413630214047



No surprise, Mrs Koike issued a warning today and doesn't rule out an SOE:

Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike pleaded with Tokyo residents to stay home as much as possible to contain the novel coronavirus during the holiday season, calling an emergency news conference Dec. 30 to air her fears. “We need to stem the spread of infections during year-end, and New Year’s holidays, otherwise we will have no choice but to ask the central government to issue a state of emergency,” she said. “What Tokyo residents do during the holiday period will determine the infection trajectory.” The governor’s news conference came as the capital reported 944 new cases that day, its second-highest number for a single day to date. The seven-day average as of Dec. 29 was 787, another record. “It would not be surprising to see an explosive growth in new cases in the coming weeks,” she said about growing new cases. “We are at a critical juncture over the holidays, whether we can slow the infections or not.” Koike also said that Tokyo needs to pay the utmost caution over the more transmissible variants of the coronavirus found in Britain and South Africa and be prepared for the possibility it will spread.

Source: Koike eyes state of emergency if Tokyo COVID-19 surge continues : The Asahi Shimbun

The U.S. Army has started to vaccinate its troops in Japan and South Korea:

The U.S. military has begun its first wave of COVID-19 vaccinations in Japan, prioritizing frontline medical workers. Inoculations began on Monday at the Yokota Air Base, Lt. Stuart Thrift confirmed to Reuters. Last week, U.S. Forces Japan took delivery of just under 8,000 doses, a military spokesman said during a Facebook Live event on Tuesday. The U.S. government and its partners will distribute 4.67 million doses of Pfizer Inc. vaccine and Moderna Inc., U.S. Army General Gustave Perna said last week.

Source: U.S. begins vaccinating its troops in Japan, S. Korea : The Asahi Shimbun

Upper House member Yuichiro Hata's death last Sunday highlights the danger of pre-existing conditions: he had suffered from diabetes, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure and died within just four days.

 

Lothor

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This is a good article on the policy to shut out foreign residents from entering Japan for several months this year that goes beyond the "they hate us gaijin" argument. The overall impression you get is of a government making ill-thought-out, kneejerk policies in reaction to their perception of public opinion while having absolutely no perception of the consequences of a ban on foreign residents rather than a deliberately spiteful policy to appease the sakoku wing of Japanese society, which is a tiny amount of comfort. Some of it does sound quite strange though.

"Throughout the year, health care experts on the government’s coronavirus task force expressed concern that they were unable to gain a comprehensive view of the attitudes held by foreign nationals toward the pandemic."

All they needed was somebody who spoke reasonable English to join a few Facebook forums.

 

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All they needed was somebody who spoke reasonable English to join a few Facebook forums.
The whole notion of grouping all foreigners together is a huge part of the problem. Someone argued to me that it was done in order not to point fingers at any one community, but calling them foreign nationals is meaningless. Japan has communities of Chinese, Korean, Brazilian, "Western" (English speakers more or less), Nepalese, and increasingly Vietnamese, Indonesian, Mongolian and elsewhere. They have little crossover. How would the government expect to get a grasp on that as a single group?

What seems most obvious is people rely on their native language for info. I get 90% of my info in English, and 10% in Japanese. The government needs fluent speakers in Korean, Mandarin, English and Portuguese to serve these communities. All these groups pay taxes. It's not unreasonable to have services and support in their native tongues.
 

Lothor

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The grouping of all foreigners into an amorphous mass is a longstanding problem in Japan. I remember one particularly dumb feature on a wide show where they discussed the fact that you sometimes see foreigners in T-shirts when the weather forecaster is solemnly telling sensible Japanese people to wrap up warm (young men from cold climates I imagine). After a couple of minutes of nihonjin wa...kedo gaikokujin wa... I turned it off. Apparently all foreigners even have the same physical response to cold weather despite our many geographical backgrounds!

I suggested English because I'm on a couple of Facebook groups for expats (I'd highly recommend the Return to Japan Support Group for anyone faced with a trip out of Japan followed by the arduous re-entry into the country) and it seems to be the lingua franca for expats. Someone from the government could have very easily got a rough idea of the views of non-Japanese residents by doing a tiny amount of digging. You're right though - more should be done to provide information in other languages.
 
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Uncle Frank

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Started 2021 with a high school friend dying from Covid today. Scary when it's someone your age and you are friends with them. Only took a week and a half from the time he went in the hospital till death. They tried many ways to save him including the blood plasma , but nothing worked.
 

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Started 2021 with a high school friend dying from Covid today. Scary when it's someone your age and you are friends with them. Only took a week and a half from the time he went in the hospital till death. They tried many ways to save him including the blood plasma , but nothing worked.
Sorry to hear that. Definitely not the most auspicious start to the year. Although we are all fatigued we must not put down our guard. When winter breaks and vaccines roll out things will get much safer.
 

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It's been decided that the decision on the planned State of Emergency will be taken on Thursday. Media reports speculate that the emergency order for Tokyo, Kanagawa, Chiba and Saitama will take effect either Thursday or Friday and last about a month. Today, we saw a couple of record numbers: most infections nationwide, most cases of seriously ill, and the highest-ever number of infections in Kanagawa.

Here's an update on the stats:


Nationwide infections:

31/12 (Thu)01/01 (Fri)02/01 (Sat)03/01 (Sun)04/01 (Mon)05/01 (Tue)
4,520​
3,247​
3,059​
3,158​
3.325​
4,914​

Nationwide deaths - Seriously Ill:

31/12 (Thu)01/01 (Fri)02/01 (Sat)03/01 (Sun)04/01 (Mon)05/01 (Tue)
49 - 681​
49 - 716​
31 - 711​
60 - 714​
48 - 731​
76 - 771​

Infections in selected prefectures:

31/12 (Thu)01/01 (Fri)02/01 (Sat)03/01 (Sun)04/01 (Mon)05/01 (Tue)
Tokyo
1.337​
783​
814​
816​
884​
1.278​
Osaka
313​
262​
258​
253​
286​
394​
Hokkaido
167​
98​
77​
68​
93​
79​
Aichi
239​
193​
158​
185​
152​
?​
Kanagawa
588​
470​
382​
365​
412​
622​
Chiba
252​
144​
236​
225​
195​
261​
Saitama
330​
221​
213​
205​
243​
369​
Hyogo
193​
128​
104​
98​
118​
222​
Okinawa
58​
48​
12​
27​
36​
53​






Updated: 06/01/2021, 07:32
 
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musicisgood

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Like the wind, this whatever it is that we call the coronavirus will change. in a way it's like a typhoon in a person's life it will come it may destroy may even kill but it will pass one way or the other leaving in this path of destruction, a new Life with possible disabilities lifelong disabilities , or a full recovery that we will see a rebuild of what's once was a person of whole.
 

thomas

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Yesterday Tokyo and several prefectures reported single-day record numbers: 1,591 new infections in Tokyo (based on only 4,477 tests conducted on 3 Jan ???), 6,001 infections nationwide and new record numbers in Osaka and Aichi.

We are still waiting for PM Suga's SoE declaration for Tokyo, Kanagawa, Chiba, and Saitama (the governor of Aichi today asked to include his prefecture as well) but it already looks like "too little, too late" as the administration is restricted to urging, requesting and "naming and shaming".

They will merely be asked to refrain from nonessential trips outside the home, especially after 8 p.m., according to a draft of a revision to the government’s basic plan for dealing with the coronavirus obtained by Kyodo News. Schools will remain open, unlike the nationwide closures during the previous state of emergency last spring. Firms will be encouraged to have employees work from home or stagger their shifts, with the goal of reducing the number of people in the office by 70%. The government will give financial support for businesses that comply with its request to shorten opening hours and “name and shame” those that do not, according to the basic plan. An advisory panel of experts in infectious diseases and public health as well as economic and legal matters is expected to approve the government’s plan for the state of emergency on Thursday.


Surprisingly, hospitals do not seem to be prepared for the third wave:

There is no shortage of overall capacity. Japan has a total of around 900,000 hospital beds for regular patients and infectious disease cases, of which only 3% or so have been allotted to the COVID-19 response. In mid-May, when about 3,400 COVID-19 patients were hospitalized, more than 30,000 beds were expected to be available across the country. This fell to around 27,000 in mid-August, during the second wave. Because this surge largely affected younger people and brought relatively few serious cases, local authorities may have grown complacent about securing more capacity. As a result, the number of beds available had barely budged in late December, during the current third wave, compared with more than four months earlier. This stands in contrast to hospitals in other nations that have adapted more flexibly to surges in coronavirus patients.

 

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Seems to be a lot of blaming going on to distract from the government's failures. I mean, look at the title of the Asia Nikkei article - hospitals aren't there to estimate the number of COVID infections, they're there to treat patients! The TV is also doing this, showing (shock!) people smoking without masks on, then inconsiderately stubbing out their cigarette on the ground with their boots (the horror!). Japan badly needs to have a mature discussion on what has recently gone wrong so that the same mistakes won't happen again.
 

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I don’t know how other nations handle this, but I find it questionable that hospitals can simply refuse to accept Covid patients (provided they have the facilities to take care of infectious diseases). As the article pointed out, this is often a business decision.

Business concerns are a factor. Global Health Consulting Japan found that hospitals that admit coronavirus cases saw a larger decline in patients than those that do not. These facilities have often been forced to postpone such moneymaking procedures as surgeries, cutting into revenue.

And a quick update: the Tokyo Metropolitan government just reported that based on the tests conducted on 4 January, the number new cases will exceed 2,000. More updates to follow.

 

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I don’t know how other nations handle this, but I find it questionable that hospitals can simply refuse to accept Covid patients (provided they have the facilities to take care of infectious diseases). As the article pointed out, this is often a business decision.
I thought this was normal situation for Japan, in that hospitals are not obligated to accept patients even in an emergency. You see the occasional story of people dying while riding around in an ambulance trying to get accepted for treatment or to give birth or something. Really bizarre but Japanese people seem to think it's normal.
 

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I thought this was normal situation for Japan, in that hospitals are not obligated to accept patients even in an emergency. You see the occasional story of people dying while riding around in an ambulance trying to get accepted for treatment or to give birth or something. Really bizarre but Japanese people seem to think it's normal.

Yes, I am aware of the situation and remember cases where patients died on the ambulance because the medics were rejected at several hospitals. Google reveals that, sadly, this is not restricted to Japan, especially in times of a global pandemic.

A little update on the situation in Japan. Infections have been exploding in Tokyo: 2,447 infections yesterday, 2,392 new cases today. That translates into 7,570 cases nationwide yesterday and a record 7,803 today (based on 13,807 tests on 5 January). Today also saw the first day of the second SoE that will last until 7 February and that's less extensive in its recommendations than the first one. Commuters were streaming to their offices as if there was no pandemic.


The governors of Osaka, Hyogo, and Kyoto have asked the PM to include them in the emergency declaration.


And at least one IOC Committee member started hinting that the rescheduled Tokyo Games could be in doubt:

 

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Yesterday, it was reported that another strain of the coronavirus had been detected in four individuals that arrived in Haneda from Brazil. That strain is different from the British and South African variant. However, it is not clear yet whether it is more infectious.


Meanwhile, the Japanese government has decided to extend the SoE to Osaka, Kyoto, Hyogo, Aichi, and Gifu prefectures. PM Suga will make a declaration tomorrow.

 

musicisgood

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The more testing the more results will come up.
it's been said many times since March of last year that everyone will get this virus but what we didn't know there would be different strains of the virus so we are dealing with possibly three different strains of the coronavirus at the moment.
We can really only stay on a proper diet at this time in our life and if you have underlying conditions such as diabetes heart problem cancer well the only recourse we may really have is staying on a decent diet.
We just can't surround yourself with four walls that live in a cocoon and tell the government says okay it's all fine now.
The mayor of New York City just said let's open up the economy now you know why because Trump is out of office it was all the game a game just to shame president Trump nothing more than that and also make sure he leaves his residency under a shameful history of false lies by the powers that have the control of the American people which is all bs.
and the funny thing is the world's media presses are down playing are silencing the actual role of China had in this virus to begin with it's all bs people.
It's all controlled by corporations that have been bought out or have been blackmailed by the Chinese government from the CEOs all the way down to people at the printing press it's all a game people unfortunately a lot of innocent people have suffered greatly because of this game to get rid of Donald Trump.
 
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