All national papers reported on a meeting on the coronavirus outbreak held on Monday by a GOJ panel of leading epidemiologists and physicians. They told the press afterward that Japan has kept the spread “under control to a degree,” as the nation has not seen an “explosive” increase in new infections. The blue-ribbon committee stressed, however, that the nation must remain vigilant as more cases are likely to be detected. The scientists also noted that even if the country manages to contain the outbreak, it may remain vulnerable to a resurgence. The panel also noted that the coronavirus will not disappear when the weather gets warmer in the way influenza does.
The panel is expected to disclose on around March 19 the results of its analysis of the situation in Hokkaido where the highest number of cases have been confirmed among the nation’s 47 prefectures. As prefecture-wide restrictions on people’s movements began there earlier than elsewhere, the committee is expected to examine the local situation and reach a conclusion on whether such measures have been effective in curtailing the spread of the virus. While noting that the experts said on Feb. 24 that the next two weeks would be crucial in the nation’s fight against the virus, the dailies projected that as the scientists are now calling for a longer monitoring period, the central government is likely to ask event organizers to keep their activities to a minimum at least through March 19.