On Monday (February 17), Japan’s health ministry issued several guidelines for when people with symptoms consistent with the new coronavirus should consult medical institutions, as the country steps up efforts to contain its spread with more cases, even among medical staff, confirmed.
Recently, the number of infections was reported to be at 454, as 99 new cases, including 43 Japanese, were confirmed to have been infected with the virus while onboard a cruise ship docked in Japan.
With Coronavirus Infections on the Rise, Japan Gov’t Issues Medical Guidance
According to a report shared by Japan Today, the ministry is now encouraging people who have had a temperature of 37.5 C or higher for four days, are feeling lethargic or are experiencing shortness of breath to contact by phone nationwide health-care centers in charge of responding to the outbreak.
Upon receipt of reports, the centers will then recommend medical institutions they should visit. The period is shorter at two days for the elderly and those with underlying conditions such as diabetes, as they are viewed as more vulnerable to the pneumonia-causing virus, the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare said.
The guidelines are intended to give those worried about contracting the virus an idea of when and where to go to a doctor while a government panel of experts has said the country is at an early stage of infection.
According to the WHO, the virus has spread from Wuhan, the epicenter of the outbreak in central China, to more than 20 countries.
And as of Monday night (Feb 17), Japan has confirmed 520 cases with most found on a quarantined cruise ship, the Diamond Princess, at Yokohama.
As per the health ministry, its official in his 50s who worked as a liaison on the vessel has been hospitalized after testing positive for the virus, in the latest case of infection among medical and other staffers.
Meanwhile, in a separate case in Sagamihara near Tokyo, a nurse was also found to have been diagnosed with the respiratory disease, now officially named COVID-19. She had taken care of a woman in her 80s who last week became the country’s first confirmed fatality from the infection.
Japan is currently scrambling to strengthen its virus testing capabilities with its immediate target of 3,000 tests a day and increase medical facilities across the nation to treat infected people.
Another cause of concern is that despite no recent record of coming into contact with people from virus-stricken regions in China, the number of cases or without symptoms has been increasing.
In the announcement shared by his ministry, health minister Katsunobu Kato said at a press conference that people with colds or influenza tend to see their health recover after three to four days on average while those infected with the virus do not.
Furthermore, the health minister asked individuals who have developed cold-like symptoms to keep track of their temperature and refrain from going to work or school.
For more information, residents are advised to call the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare’s dedicated Call Center hotline for the Novel Coronavirus (0120-565653) or to visit their official page.