From the outset, the Japanese took precautionary measures but were they slow? I don’t think so but each economy must be realistic about what they can do the balance between good economic measures and the reality of the situation.
The Japanese have a very different approach to test kits being used and until now PCR testing was non-existent. In a pandemic testing confirms the number of positives, and confirms the total number within a given population. But we all know that putting an end to the spread is not impossible but there are significant costs. At the same time it seems reasonable to manage this pandemic without being hysterical. We all know that anyone who is elderly is at significant risk, and a very small percentage of the population will fatality.
Most Japanese or at least a high percentage of the population who becomes sick will self-quarantine. This has been the strategy from the outset and most countries instituted the same practice to delay a rush on the medical resources. You have a 4-5 day quarantine if you have symptoms, stay at home and if the conditions persist you will go into the queue.
Not everyone can be treated equally and obviously as we’ve seen in Italy it boils down to saving the lives of people who are more healthy. It is an ugly reality but one that we will have no choice but to except.
You can imagine that physicians who are doing intubation are becoming contaminated and 70 doctors until now who have been exposed to treating patients with coronavirus have passed away.
The challenges in Japan right now are many Japanese are getting lax about the seriousness of the virus when the system depends mostly on the cooperation of the population.
The good old “funnel system” where you pour in the top “the entire population” and what falls out at the bottom are the fatalities, and if we count the number of fatalities is still relatively low you have done a good job.
I understand the reason for testing but once you test a person unless they are severely sick the only thing you can do is isolate them. The problem is not testing because by the time you are tested you’ve been asymptomatic and spread coronavirus to your community.
The only way to minimize the spread is basically to lock people up at home the entire population until it is eradicated. This means that you’ll save lots of lives but economies may not get back on their feet for a very long time and then you end up with lots of healthy people starving.