Tokyo, March 2 (Jiji Press)–Patients with mild symptoms are believed to play an important role in spreading infections with the new coronavirus, a Japanese government panel of experts said Monday.
As most of patients in their 10s to 30s only suffer mild symptoms of the virus and such young people interact with others frequently, they may be causing further infections unknowingly, the panel said.
It made the comments after analyzing data mainly from the northernmost Japan prefecture of Hokkaido, where a state of emergency was declared over the virus last week.
The panel said that 80 pct of people who contracted the virus in Japan have not spread infections to other people.
There have been cases in which one virus carrier created a cluster of patients in a closed indoor space, such as a gym or a club, it said.
Referring to the situation in Hokkaido, the panel said it is possible that travelers from China who came to the prefecture for a snow festival caused infections in urban areas and infected young people caused further infections in other regions.
There seems to be a considerable number of clusters in the prefecture, it said.
The panel warned that unless measures are taken in the next one to two weeks to limit human exchanges in the prefecture as much as possible, the number of infection cases may surge.
It would be possible to contain a further spread of the virus if countermeasures are taken properly, Shigeru Omi, deputy head of the panel, said at a press conference.
If a cluster of patients is contained, further infections can be controlled, Hitoshi Oshitani, a panel member, said, adding that Hokkaido can become a model for other regions.