Five dispatches from the front line of the constant battle to stay safe and clean in the age of the coronavirus:

  • Calculations by Japan’s Fugaku supercomputer have found that opening and closing doors of a local commuter train when it stops at stations brings about the same level of ventilation as does keeping the windows of a train open while it is running. So no need to open those windows then? Thanks, Fugaku.
  • Japanese companies are stepping up countermeasures against the coronavirus as new cases increase, reducing the number of workers at the office and asking staff to avoid year-end and New Year’s parties — or banning them outright. Although the proportion of people working remotely fell below 20% in October from around 30% in May, it now appears to be on the rise again.
Fugaku: the supercomputer helping us understand how coronavirus spreads | ABC NEWS IN-DEPTH
Fugaku: the supercomputer helping us understand how coronavirus spreads | ABC NEWS IN-DEPTH
  • Libraries in Japan are hoping a machine that sterilizes books using ultraviolet light will be enough to reassure readers that it’s safe to borrow again during the pandemic. The machine can sterilize a book in 30 seconds, even fluttering the pages to clear out the dust.
  • In a similar vein but bigger and faster, Kansai International Airport has started trials of a device that emits UV light to disinfect luggage carts. The device can disinfect up to 10 carts at the same time in about 90 seconds. Passengers can check when a cart was sterilized by using their smartphones to scan a QR code displayed on the cart.
  • One of Japan’s year-end traditions is ōsōji, which translates to “big clean.” With colder months seeming to herald a rise in COVID-19 cases, it might be prudent to follow local customs and take some time to give your home a deep cleanse this winter. Louise George Kittaka approached experts for practical advice to make sure your house is tidy and safe for everyone spending the holidays inside.