Japan was one of first countries outside of China hit by the coronavirus. Two months after its first case, Japan hasn’t seen virus surge (殺到、押し寄せる). Now it’s one of the least-affected (最小の、影響を受けた) among developed nations (先進国). That’s puzzling (当惑させている) health experts. Unlike (〜と異なり) China’s draconian (厳格な) isolation measures (隔離処置), the mass (大規模な) quarantine (隔離) in much of (多くでの) Europe and big U.S. cities (アメリカの大きな都市) ordering (命令している) people to shelter in place (適所に避難する), Japan has imposed (課した) no lockdown (監禁).
While there have been (〜がある間) disruptions (混乱) caused by (〜に起因する) school closures (閉鎖), life continues as normal (いつものように) for much of the population (多くの人にとって). Tokyo rush hour trains are still packed and restaurants remain open.
The government contends (主張する、取り組む、争う) it has been aggressive (積極的) in identifying (特定すること) clusters (集団) and containing (抑えること) the spread (広がり).Critics (批評家) argue (論じる) Japan has been lax (手ぬるい、緩い) in testing, perhaps looking to keep the infection numbers low (感染者数を低く保つ) as (〜なので) it’s set (置く、位置づける) to host (主催する) the Olympics in Tokyo in July. Limited Virus testing in Japan is good or bad? I’m sure that it’s good to prevent (防ぐ) medical collapse (医療崩壊).
Japan’s initial (最初の) slow response to the virus, its handling of the Diamond Princess cruise ship — where about one in five (1/5) people aboard became infected (感染する) while it was quarantined (隔離する、検疫する、留置する) in Yokohama — and the decision (決定) not to initially (最初は) block travel from China. Steps (処置) taken (とられている) to contain the virus — such as shutting schools and calling off (延期する) large events — it just seemed right (それは正しいように思えます).
As of March 20 (3月20日現在), Japan has only had a little more than 900 confirmed cases (900人ちょっとのケースしか確認されていない) — excluding (〜を除いて) the cruise ship. What was the number of deaths? There are few death tolls (死者数は少ない). Iran, U.S., Spain, France were all above 10,000 cases and Italy was nearing 40,000. Neighbor South Korea, which tested aggressively amid (〜の中で) a surge of confirmed infections from late February, was at about 8,500. It is said that excessive (過大な、極端な) inspection (検査) let the number of the infected people increase rapidly and medical collapse was caused for a few days.
In Tokyo, among the world’s most densely (密集して) packed metropolitan areas, cases made up (構成する) 0.0008% of the population. The northern main island of Hokkaido, the skiing destination that was Japan’s worst-hit area, is already lifting a state of emergency as new cases have slowed. We can see two possibilities : that Japan has contained the spread by focusing on outbreak clusters, or that there are outbreaks yet to be found.
Handshakes and hugs in Japan are less common than in other G-7 countries. Japan also has rates of hand-washing above those in Europe. Currently (現在では), low case numbers may cause a “false sense of security” (間違った安心感). It is necessary for everybody to act with the intention of the infection patients (感染患者のつもりで). Until convergence (収束する). Japan cherry blossom season’s wilted (しぼむ) by the Coven-19 pandemic (世界的大流行). I hope things settle down (落ち着く) a.s.a.p.
I’d like to express my deepest sympathy to all those who passed away (亡くなられた方々のご冥福を深くお祈り申し上げます).