National

Tokyo enlists nightclub workers for Q&A-style videos to fight coronavirus

by Chang-ran Kim

Reuters

Alarmed by a spike in infections in Tokyo's nightlife districts, the metropolitan government has released educational videos in the form of a Q&A between nightclub hosts, a hostess and a doctor, hoping to stem the spread of the outbreak.

"What kind of symptoms can a young COVID-19 patient expect?"

"What are medical costs like?"

"How often should we sanitize our hands?"

Those are some of the questions posed in the three videos that feature young workers from nightclubs in the city's red light districts where infections have crept up since the government lifted a state of emergency in late May.

In the first of the seven- to eight-minute videos, a nightclub host Shota Taira asks the doctor general questions such as whether an asymptomatic person who has tested positive could infect others.

Taira then appears to toss a heart-shaped pillow virtually to a hostess in the next video, passing the Q&A baton.

Her questions center on prevention measures, while the final questioner, another host, focuses on what to do if infected.

The doctor recommends temperature checks at the nightclub entrance, safe distancing between seats, and cautions against drinking directly out of the same bottle or having customers served by different hostesses.

Recent outbreaks in Tokyo have occurred in the Kabukicho and Ikebukuro red light districts' many host clubs, where young men entertain women customers over drinks, and also at the female equivalent hostess or "cabaret" clubs.

Tokyo has seen new daily infections top 200 in four of the last six days, small compared with outbreaks in some other countries but hovering at record levels for the city. The majority of those infected are in their 20s and 30s with light or no symptoms, making it difficult to trace the virus.

Tokyo has targeted red light districts for aggressive testing and has urged nightclubs to follow safety guidelines.

Economic revitalization minister Yasutoshi Nishimura, who is in charge of the coronavirus response, has warned that nightclubs could be suspended if they do not comply.

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