Global Health & Medicine 2022;4(2):78-82.
Public health responses to COVID-19 in Japan
Machida M, Wada K
Two years have passed since the confirmation of the first case of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Japan. The aim of this article was to review the public health responses to COVID-19 in Japan. As of January 31, 2022, COVID-19-positive cases have cumulatively totaled 2,669,638 and deaths cases have cumulatively totaled 18,784. To deter COVID-19 transmission in the community, the government declared a state of emergency to minimize the impact on people's livelihoods and the economy. The prefectural (province) governor of an area under a "State of Emergency" may request special action to prevent the spread of infection among residents. A nationwide campaign, Avoid the "3 Cs" (Closed spaces, Crowded spaces, and Close-contact settings), has been widely acknowledged to have controlled infection in high-risk areas. In Japan, COVID-19 vaccines were supplied by Pfizer, Moderna, and AstraZeneca. Pfizer's vaccine received regulatory approval in Japan in February 2021, and Moderna and AstraZeneca's did so in May 2021. Public health centers (PHCs) under the jurisdiction of local governments are responsible for conducting Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) testing, coordinating the treatment of COVID-19-positive patients, and identifying persons in close contact with COVID-19 patients through an epidemiological study of each positive case. These public health responses have been implemented based on the assessment of the impact of each variant and support from a government panel of experts. Further studies may be need to be conducted develop more flexible and efficient public health responses.