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Only 32.8 percent of people in Japan avoid having conversations at close distance as a preventive measure against the spread of the new coronavirus, a national survey has found.

The survey was conducted jointly by the health ministry and Line Corp. for two days through Wednesday, covering some 83 million users of the company’s free messaging app. Valid answers were given by some 24 million users.

People in Japan have yet to sufficiently avoid being in close proximity with each other, officials at the ministry said, noting that the absence of adequate distance enhances the risk of infections.

Asked about the preventive measures against infections that they’ve adopted, with multiple answers allowed, 85.6 percent, the largest group of respondents, said they wash their hands, gargle and disinfect their hands and fingers.

Those who said they cover their mouths with face masks or handkerchiefs when they cough or sneeze accounted for 74.4 percent.

The survey also found that 62.0 percent do not go to places with poor ventilation and 73.7 percent do not go to crowded places.

Only 5.6 percent of respondents are teleworking, according to the survey. The ministry officials said improvements can be made regarding the introduction of flexible work styles.

The survey also found that 4.8 percent of respondents do nothing to prevent infections.

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