How to protect yourself from Covid-19 coronavirus while in Tokyo and Japan

Don't panic – here's what you need to know about the global outbreak if you're in Tokyo

coronavirus feature
Photo: Koukichi Takahashi/Unsplash

Covid-19 coronavirus has created a serious shift our regular lives. Now, most of us are working from home and only venturing outside for essential reasons, like going to the doctor or the grocery store. Tokyo and Japan hasn't announced a lockdown or state of emergency quite yet but we're still doing our best to avoid spreading the virus by staying indoors and social distancing (staying two metres away from others). 

The best thing to do is to avoid panicking. Here's some information on how to protect yourself from Covid-19 and what to do if you're not feeling well. 

ALSO SEE: Live updates: the Covid-19 coronavirus situation in Tokyo and Japan right now


What is Covid-19?

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), Covid-19 is a subset of the coronavirus family, a range of illnesses including the common cold. Covid-19 causes symptoms such as fever, coughing and fatigue. About 80 percent of people who catch Covid-19 coronavirus recover from the disease without special medical treatment, however, if you’re feeling unwell, you need to go to a doctor or hospital.

I’m in Japan and I’m not feeling well.

Japan’s Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare says anyone experiencing a fever of at least 37.5ºC for more than four days, cold symptoms, fatigue and/or shortness of breath should contact a Covid-19 consultation centre. This flowchart created by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government explains Covid-19 symptoms and provides a guideline to approaching the consultation centre. 

Call the Japan Visitor Hotline (inside Japan 050 3816 2787, from overseas +81 50 3816 2787) in case of illness or emergency. The hotline provides services in English, Chinese, Korean, and Japanese. 

The Japan National Tourism Organisation (JNTO) also has an index of multilingual medical institutions and information on how to use them. 

Please see the JNTO website for multilingual support. 


How can I protect myself?

The Guardian reports that, while the exact way Covid-19 spreads is still unknown, 'similar viruses tend to spread via cough and sneeze droplets'.

With that in mind, wash your hands with soap and warm water frequently and avoid touching your face, especially your eyes, nose and mouth. When you cough or sneeze, cover your mouth and nose with your elbow or a tissue to avoid spreading illness.

Most of the world is staying indoors and while Tokyo is not on lockdown, it's highly recommended we stay inside

If you must take the train, avoid crowded stations and rush hour with our guide to navigating Tokyo trains

Hand sanitiser and face masks have been difficult to procure. However, if you’re crafty you can make your own mask

How is this affecting Tokyo?

It's true, people are still panic-buying toilet paper, but it's unnecessary. Many attractions, like teamLab Borderless and Tokyo Disney Resort have temporarily closed for an indefinite period of time. Department stores have reduced their hours with some weekend closures and even cherry blossom festivals got cancelled. 

All of this is just a precaution to avoid spreading the virus.


What about the Olympics?

The Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games are officially postponed and will be held from July 23 to August 8 2021 and August 24 to September 5 2021 for the Paralympics.  

We will continue to update the situation here

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