Naoko Muto feels it is just a matter of luck that the day care center she runs hasn’t had any COVID-19 cases despite the rapid spread of the omicron variant.

With heaters on full blast, the Takakura day care center in Nagoya keeps its windows slightly open all day to improve ventilation, while everything from nursing rooms to staff break rooms are disinfected daily. Basically, Muto says, her team is doing everything it can to prevent one of its employees or children from getting infected, which would force the facility to close down.

“Day cares have a societal role that allows working parents to go to work,” said Muto, whose facility has 121 pre-schoolers up to the age of 6 under its care. “But even if we do everything possible, we may not be able to prevent one of us from being infected.”