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Saturday marked the first anniversary of Japan's first confirmed COVID-19 case, a man who returned after visiting the Chinese city of Wuhan, the epicenter of the virus at the time. Can you remember what you thought when you read or heard about that case?


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When I returned to Japan after Xmas holiday on Jan 8, 2020, there were already screening procedures for "a virus from Wuhan city". I could never have imagined how it would change all of our lives at that time.

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I thought we were screwed. Knowing the lack of decent leadership here, I was expecting us to become like what the US is like now. I'm glad I was wrong

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I didn't think too much of it back then as I presumed that if they knew the man came from Wuhan and had the virus with him, they would've contained him and all the people he traveled with to Japan, but boy was I wrong. My fears began when local transmission started.

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For the first time I heard that case on the news, I did not think it was the onset of the novel outbreak and bothered most of Japanese citizens for far. Even though virus outbreak had already on the media in Japan before the case on the topic, I did not take the new into consideration seriously. This lack of interest might be one of the cause of serious virus outbreak, which has stopped economy, education and medical system.

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Just a year ago I wasn't fully aware of its seriousness... yeah, I must acknowledge. It seems to have been understood as "another" health problem in China. While personally feeling a bit weird, a bit sympathy for Wuhan residents, I was relying on updates from the WHO which I (mis-) believed was more credible. At that time alongside an on-site inquiry in China, the WHO officials were discussing whether the virus could be transmitted human-to-human, about which the top leaders continued to remain in denial despite some dissenting and alarmist views from a few WHO members.

For Japan, I assume that the previous virus experience (the 2009 swine flu) gave some thoughts or bias. Japan actually dodged the swine flu at bay quite well with only 200+ deaths. The case was so successful that even the health ministry came under attack by media and the public over its overreaction and excessive curbing measures. I think this "tragedy" had some impact on initial responses to the first case arriving from Wuhan. Not to mention, other practical concerns (the Olympics and inbound economic prospect through Chinese New Year) must also have kept the government slow and hesitant over the virus at that time.

A year from now, serious reviews, reflections and somber discussions are worth doing with cooler heads (though we're still amid the pandemic). I thank JT for giving this opportunity.

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Yup. Remembered thinking, "Why did they not quarantine him immediately upon arrival, and just let him go home?" One year later and with Japanese still bringing it back from Britain and Africa (via Brazil) and home to the families, and Japan has still not learned a thing.

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Close the borders , while you still can, you idiots, were probably my thoughts then. And that’s the same what I have to say now , one year after that first case. You can see for yourself, what it has lead to, here and even more around the globe. Unbelievable, that stubborn ignorance...

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I remember thinking - this is the moment. This is the crucial moment when the people and governments of the world come together in order to halt the advance of a possible catastrophic disease. This is the moment that we forget bigotry and intolerance and show, as human beings, that we can unite in the face of such a threat. This is the moment when 45, Kim, and all other demagogues surprise us all and show that they can be a force for good and safety.

Yep. That was the moment. A brief one, and it passed.

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Thankyou China for sharing this with the world

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I remember reading that researchers, there and elsewhere, saying they thought the likelihood was very high that the virus jumped from an animal at the Wuhan market, probably a pangolin, (the world's most trafficked animal for its supposed Chinese traditional medicinal properties), to human, due to the highly unhygienic and biologically risky conditions at the market.

Later the apologistic damage control propaganda sprung into action, with the Chinese claiming the virus came from overseas and the political-correct brigade in the West like the WTO claiming "we don't where the virus came from." Yeah, right. In this crisis, the first victim is the truth.

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