• Jiji


As life in Japan returns to normal following the government's lifting of the state of emergency over the COVID-19 pandemic, professional cleaning services, which were once overwhelmed with disinfection work, are receiving requests for infection prevention steps.

The Tokyo Pest Control Association, which disinfects hotel facilities and ambulances used by COVID-19 patients, said it had received over 1,200 consultations in March and April from managers of office and apartment buildings regarding what to do when an infected person is found in their building, prompting a representative to say it became difficult for the group to handle all the work.

However, the number of inquiries decreased from around the end of the Golden Week holiday period in early May, almost proportionally with the number of new infections. The number of requests for advice in May stood at 71.

The decline in infection cases has instead led to an increase in consultations regarding prevention measures.

Unisons, which disinfected the Diamond Princess cruise ship, quarantined off Japan earlier this year due to a cluster of infections, began a service in April giving cleaning instructions to businesses reopening after suspending operations amid the epidemic.

The company gave instructional videos to a medical clinic in Tokyo, slated to resume day care services two days later, on how to use disinfectants and how to wipe tables used for medical treatment.

The firm said it had received inquiries on such lessons from multiple event management companies, such as those hosting concerts and motor shows, even before they knew when they could resume operations.

Disinfection efforts are thought to be helpful in preventing a second wave of infections. Infections through contact can be prevented if things that are frequently touched are wiped with cloth soaked in alcohol or diluted kitchen bleach.

The company said that such things include doorknobs, computer keyboards and smartphones. Backrests of chairs and corners of tables are also frequently touched but often ignored, it added.

A list of chemicals that can be used at home as disinfectants can be found on the firm's website.

"It's not enough to disinfect just once," Ryosuke Otake, 24, president of Unisons, said. "Doing so as part of everyday cleaning will lead to prevention."

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