If we compare the data of multiple countries from around the world regarding the current pandemic of COVID 19 outbreak, we come to the conclusion that Japan doesn’t qualify to the top of the list because there are only 14,000 confirmed patients of virus attack in almost all of the 47 prefectures but still this number and the death rate is alarming for the country. The health department and the government officially issued nationwide lockdown on 16th April almost 4 months after seeing the first case of COVID 19 and during this lockdown, citizens were instructed to stay at home, work from home and never go out unless it’s an emergency. Government also decided to give 100,000 yen to every Japanese citizen.
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- Early January 2020: A Japanese citizen who went to Wuhan and came back to Japan on 6th January started having symptoms of COVID 19 and when he was admitted to hospital on 10th January, he was tested positive for coronavirus. It was later speculated that this patient actually didn’t visit the seafood market in Wuhan but he might have come in close contact of an infected person there. As of that moment, this was the only COVID 19 confirmed case in all of the 47 prefectures of Japan.
- Mid January 2020: Around 20th January, 2nd case of COVID 19 was confirmed in a Chinese citizen who came from Wuhan and later around 25th January, 3rd patient with COVID 19 was confirmed and it was a female patient who came from Wuhan.
- End January 2020: Japanese government started taking the situation seriously as the 2020 Olympics were planned to be held in Japan, the government was seriously concerned about the sport event. On 28th January, 4 more people tested positive for COVID 19 bringing total number of infected people to 7. This included a man who never travelled outside of Japan but he claimed to drive a bus for tour group of Chinese citizens who came from Wuhan. Later the tour guide of that group was also tested positive for COVID 19.
- Early February 2020: On 1st February a man who worked for cabinet secretariat died in the same building where the evacuees from Wuhan were quarantined for 14 days. It’s still not confirmed what caused his death because official report says he committed suicide but it can be because of the virus. On 3rd February, Japanese government officially banned entry of Chinese citizens especially the ones from Wuhan or Hubei province and the other citizens were asked to stay in 14 day quarantine before going anywhere in Japanese prefectures.
- Mid February 2020: On 11th February, 2 young men were tested positive for COVID 19 but the alarming element was that previously they were tested negative. On the same day, total number of infected patients rose to 31 in multiple prefectures. On 13th February, very first patient of COVID 19 died in Kanagawa and later it was reported that she was the mother in law of a cab driver who had COVID 19 and drove taxi in Tokyo. On 14th February, a couple tested positive for COVID 19 but they never visited Hubei or Wuhan. Instead, they went to Hawaii for vacation and during that time, husband started showing symptoms of common flu which turned out to be COVID 19.
- End February 2020: Japanese prime minister issued order to close all elementary, junior and high schools and colleges until further notice. It was done because of the increase in numbers of young patients from multiple schools and colleges. The shutdown of the educational institutes took effect from 2nd March till mid April.
- Mid March 2020: After judging the increasing number of patients, Japanese government issued strict quarantine regulations for everyone who came from abroad especially for Chinese and South Korean citizens. S Korea later protested against the quarantine rules for their citizens and as a result, they immediately suspended visas to Japanese citizens who were traveling to S Korea. Later that week, the government issued quarantine instructions for travelers coming from Spain, Italy and Switzerland. As of this moment, there are 4 confirmed deaths in multiple prefectures.
- Late March 2020: Although the Japanese government didn’t issue an official lockdown order but the governors from multiple prefectures requested their residents to stay at home and avoid going outside without urgent need. There wasn’t any specific order of lockdown in these press conferences but somehow the citizens speculated that the country is under lockdown so they started panic buying and soon there were pictures of empty shelves in super markets. High profile people contacted Japanese prime minister and requested him to issue lockdown orders but the request was refused.
- Early April 2020: Till 7th April, there were around 5000 confirmed cases of COVID 19 in almost all of the prefectures of Japan and total death toll rose to 85 citizens. On 3rd April, Japanese government issued ban for entry for citizens of more than 70 countries from around the globe. On 7th April, the prime minister issued lockdown order but he also stated that this lockdown is not similar to other countries because public transport will keep working in all major prefectures.
- Mid April 2020: As of 20th April 2020, there were more than 10,000 confirmed cases of COVID 19 with more than 180 people dead because of the virus. On 16th April, the health department suspected a second wave of pandemic hitting Japanese residents so the government issued the lock down order to each and every prefecture of the country with closing down the schools and colleges until further notice.