1. About COVID-19
- Learn about COVID-19
- Learn about the symptoms of COVID-19
- Learn about the treatment of COVID-19
2. If you go to the hospital with a suspected COVID-19
3. What you can do to prevent the spread of infection
- What you can do to prevent the spread of infection
- How to wash your hands
In this section, you will learn about COVID-19 based on the “Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)” on the website of the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare. (Some contents are edited.)
＜Learn about COVID-19＞
（Question1）What kind of virus is COVID-19?
COVID-19(novel coronavirus) is one of the coronaviruses. Coronaviruses include those that cause common colds, and the “Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS)” and “Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS)” viruses. These viruses cannot grow on their own, but can grow by attaching themselves to cells, such as mucous membranes, and entering them.
The virus can enter the mucous membrane, but is thought to only adhere to the surfaces and they cannot get into the healthy skin. The virus on the surface of objects will break down over time. However, depending on the type of object, the coronavirus is considered to be able to infect for 24 to 72 hours.
Because of its nature, hand washing is considered to be effective because of its ability to flush viruses out. Washing with soap is more effective because it can break down the coronavirus membranes.
（Question2）How do you get infected with COVID-19 ?
It is commonly transmitted by droplets or physical contact. It is considered that there is a risk of spreading the infection without symptoms, such as coughing and sneezing in a closed space, where you can talk with many people at a close distance.
Droplet infection is an infection in which the virus is released in infected droplets (e.g. sneezing, coughing, saliva, etc.) and is inhaled by another person through the mouth or nose.
(According to the World Health Organization (WHO), a 5-minute conversation typically spreads as many droplets as (about 3,000) in a single cough).
Contact infection occurs when an infected person covers his/her cough or sneezes with their hand and touches objects around them. The virus within the droplets from the infected person’s coughing and sneezing may stick on the surface and others can be infected by touching their mouth or nose after touching the surface that has the virus on it.
(The WHO says COVID-19 can live up to 72 hours on plastic surfaces and up to 24 hours on cardboard).
（Question3）Do you get infected by asymptomatic carriers?
An “asymptomatic carrier” is a person who has no symptoms but has a PCR test1 positive.
In general, viral infections, such as those that cause pneumonia, are most likely to infect others when symptoms are most severe.
However, it is considered that COVID-19 may spread before the symptoms become apparent.
※1 PCR test: Viral genetic testing. The test detects if a virus is present in the subject’s body and/or is infected with the virus
＜Learn about the symptoms of COVID-19＞
（Question1）What kind of symptoms will appear if you are infected with COVID-19?
The main symptoms include the following:
Severe symptoms such as shortness of breath (dyspnea), severe lethargy (fatigue), and high fever
Relatively mild cold symptoms such as fever and cough
※If symptoms persist for more than 4 days, you may have an infection.
However, elderly, people with underlying medical conditions (diabetes, heart failure, respiratory disease, etc.), people on dialysis, and people using immunosuppressive or anti-cancer drugs should consult their physician or public health center immediately.
（Question2）Is COVID-19 prone to severe symptoms?
Many people who are infected with COVID-19 have mild illness and can be cured. However, for those who have severe symptoms, they are considered to rapidly worsen in about 5 to 7 days from the onset of the normal cold symptoms, leading to pneumonia.
The elderly and those with underlying diseases are considered to be at a higher risk of having more severe symptoms.
（Question3）What are the symptoms and effects on the fetus if you are infected with COVID-19 during pregnancy?
At this time, it is considered that if you get infected with COVID-19 in the third trimester of pregnancy, the progress and severity are the same as those of non-pregnant women. Cases of viral infections in fetuses have been reported overseas, but there have been no reports of fetal abnormalities, stillbirths, or miscarriages being more likely to occur.
However, some people think that pneumonia during pregnancy is likely to be more severe compared to women who are not pregnant. For this reason, you should make an active effort to prevent infection on a daily basis, and consult with your doctor if you have fatigue, high fever, or symptoms of a relatively mild cold.
（Question4）I would like to check if I have COVID-19 infection. What should I do?
Please consult your family doctor or local consultation office by phone in advance. If the results of your consultation indicate that infection is suspected, you will be referred to outpatient facilities such as, the “Outpatient for Japanese Returnees and Potential Contacts” where you will be tested for COVID-19.
＜Learn about the treatment of COVID-19＞
（Question1）How do you treat COVID-19?
Treatment with antiviral drugs against COVID-19 itself has not yet been established. There are treatments that aim to relieve symptoms of fever and cough caused by the virus (symptomatic treatment). According to the symptoms, antipyretics, antitussives, and intravenous drip treatment are specifically administered. If pneumonia occurs, oxygen or artificial respiration may be given. Antiviral drugs (Remdesivir) may also be used for those who have severe symptoms.
（Question2）When are you considered to be cured after treatment?
“Cured” refers to the state in which respiratory symptoms such as fever and cough have disappeared and no virus can be detected in the nasal cavity, trachea, etc. Antibodies are produced while the general condition of the patient is being supported by the ‟symptomatic treatment” described above, eliminating the virus, and leading to a cure.
2．If you go to the hospital with a suspected COVID-19
First of all, please consult your primary care doctor or local consultation office by phone in advance. After consultation, if it is determined that an examination is necessary, please follow the following instructions when you go out.
Wear a mask
Avoid using public transportation whenever possible
As a result of the examination (e.g. PCR tests),
- In the case of “positive”: hospitalization in designated medical institutions for infectious
diseases or recuperation in accommodation facilities.
- In the case of ” negative”: stay at home and visit medical institutions if necessary.
However, if your symptoms do not improve, please consult your physician again.
- Search for local consultation services（Japanese）
Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, “Call Centers for Japanese Returnees and Potential Contacts on Novel Coronaviruses”
- Local Call Centers（English, etc.）
3．What you can do to prevent the spread of infection
As with the cold and seasonal flu prevention, practicing cough etiquette and hand washing are very important.
Each and every one of us must act responsibly to protect ourselves and our loved ones. Keep the following tips in mind to help prevent the spread of the disease!
＜Preventing COVID-19 and stopping its spread＞『References：the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare Home Page』（Some contents are being edited.）
Refrain from going out!
If you have no choice but to go out, make sure that you wear a mask.
Avoid the “three Cs (Closed spaces, Crowded places, and Close-contact settings)”!
Group infections have the following factors in common: “Closed spaces with poor ventilation”, “Crowded spaces with many people nearby”, and “Close-contact settings such as close-range conversations”.
If you have no choice but to go to such places, it is important to “ventilate”, “avoid talking in a loud voice”, and “avoid having conversations with people within arm’s reach”(social distancing).
Make sure you practice cough etiquette and hand washing!
Cough etiquette is to cover the mouth and nose with a mask, tissue, handkerchief, sleeve, or inner elbow when coughing or sneezing. This can reduce the risk of droplets and contact infections.
＜How to wash your hands＞
Washing your hands is effective because it can wash away viruses.
Be sure to wash your hands frequently when you come back from going outside and before you eat!
If you want to check updated information in English, please refer to the following link.
“Preventing COVID-19 and stopping its spread” by Ministry of Health, Labour, Welfare
・The above content is based on the following information. If there are any changes in the references, please be aware that it may take some time for the changes to be reflected on this site.
・Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare「Novel Coronavirus(COVID-19)」
・Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare「Preventing COVID-19 and stopping its spread」
・Tokyo Metropolitan Government「COVID-19 The Information Website」