When Japan decided to lift the nationwide state of emergency on May 25 while there still were confirmed COVID-19 cases in different prefectures, I presumed that the situation was going to get worse and that Japan was going to suffer from the ensuing relaxation of restrictions.
With the increasing number of new COVID-19 cases (topping 1,500 throughout the country on July 31), I know I was right.
I come from Taiwan, where SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) broke out in March 2003 and sent the people into a panic. We learned to wear masks responsibly and to wash hands regularly, and went to a doctor if any similar symptoms began to develop. That was how we saw the epidemic out.
On the other hand, what is happening in Japan right now is surreal. When the number of positive tests were increasing, the Go To Travel campaign was still launched. And — to my great surprise — the Go To Eat campaign is next in line.
What these campaigns and other recent and upcoming relaxed restrictions imply is a misleading message to the people: It is safe and the life they used to know is back.
But the truth is that the virus is still there, mutating and evolving, ready to prey on those who are incautious and unguarded.
Also, what concerns me is the capacity of medical facilities and the fact that many of the people whose tests are positive are asked to stay home and are not controlled.
I fear to think what is going to become of Japan in the next few months. The only way to turn the situation around is to take drastic measures, if the government really wants to save the country and, ultimately, the Olympics scheduled to open in a year.