From the New York Times:
Other countries with aging populations, like South Korea and Italy, which have both experienced recent surges in infections, are also facing acute challenges. Those two countries have done just what experts recommend: They have moved quickly to test large numbers of people so they can be treated and isolated from others.
South Korea is conducting more than 10,000 tests a day; Japan, by contrast, is performing only a tiny fraction of that. What’s more, the Japanese authorities recommend that elderly patients be tested for the coronavirus only after they have had a fever for at least two days (for most others, it is four days).
That may be too late for many older people, said Masahiro Kami, a physician and executive director of the Tokyo-based nonprofit Medical Governance Research Institute.
He speculated that the limitations might be driven by politics, as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe seeks to keep the spread of the virus from derailing the Tokyo Olympics. “It may be Abe or someone around him wants to downplay the number of infections or patients because of the upcoming Olympics,” Dr. Kami said.
Japan currently has the capacity to conduct about 4,000 tests a day, but it has carried out less than half that number on any given day since the crisis began, according to statistics provided by the health ministry.
South Korea, which reported on Saturday that cases in the country had risen to 3,150, has offered drive-through testing in Daegu, a hard-hit city, and other places, while in Hong Kong, clinics have begun to give residents kits that allow them to take the tests at home and send them to a lab.
“You wonder, if they were testing nearly as much as South Korea is testing, what would the actual number be? How many cases are lurking and just aren’t being caught?” said Tobias Harris, an expert on Japanese politics at Teneo Intelligence in Washington.
Making the problem worse, only a small number of public health centers in Japan have been authorized to provide the tests, which can be processed by just five companies selected by the government, creating a potential bottleneck.
That has forced clinics to turn patients away, even when they are presenting serious symptoms like high fever, according to news reports and statements from the Japan Medical Association, which said it had begun looking into the issue.
Erika Tamada, 33, a nursery school teacher from Hyogo Prefecture who lives with her 59-year-old parents, 83-year-old grandfather and younger sister, said both her mother and grandfather had had fevers and other symptoms, including runny noses and coughs.
But neither of them has been able to get tested for the virus, by local public health clinics or by the hospital they visited. Ms. Tamada said she was taken aback when a doctor at a health center told them to “wash hands, gargle and just work hard not to get infected.”
15 ( +17 / -2 )
That was not a quarantine, it failed everytime they had a new case they should count from 0 again, they didn't, despite of having lots of new cases everyday they didn't accept that the quarantine was not working, it had a lot of mistakes as Doctor Iwata explained and beside that, they just let the people disembark, 1000 people to the community from a hot virus spot to the community without any quarantine. That is the reason why other countries had their people on quarantine again because what happend on the cruise just speed up the infection.
And yes it's important to say that it failed because they keep making wrong decisions, they should allow an expert to lead the situation as it is, a health crisis
10 ( +14 / -4 )