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Having mocked him at first for his theories on how the novel coronavirus spread, the world has come to recognize the effectiveness of scientist Hitoshi Oshitani’s “Three C’s” approach to the pandemic: avoiding closed spaces, crowds and close contact situations where the virus thrives.

It’s a strategy that has helped the nation avoid thousands of deaths without a lockdown — but one that’s now being challenged, with infections rapidly escalating as cold weather sets in.

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