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        Japan's 2nd COVID-19 wave from US, Europe: research

        By Liu Caiyu and Xing Xiaojing Source:Global Times Published: 2020/4/29 22:58:40

        West's failure drags world fight against pandemic


        Deer wander at the street of Nara, Japan on March 19. Photos: IC



        Research in Japan shows the peak of a new coronavirus outbreak in the country starting in March may be triggered by imported infections from Europe and the US, adding to evidence of how Europe and the US failed to curb the spread of the coronavirus and dragged down the worldwide fight against the pandemic.

        Europe and the US are responsible for Japan's second wave of the COVID-19 outbreak as they did not act when the alarm was sounded, and their domestic outbreaks are the result of rampant community infections rather than imported cases, analysts said. 

        Japan is experiencing its second wave and likely to have a third or fourth, as it failed to stem the coronavirus infections from Europe and the US, Japan's National Institute of Infectious Diseases said based on research on virus strains, Japan News Network reported.

        After studying the virus genotype of 5,037 patients, Japanese scientists found the second wave of cases with an unknown transmission route in various parts of Japan since March were likely caused by imported infections from Europe and the US. 

        Kazunori Oishi, the director of Japan's Hygiene Research Institute in Toyama, who participated in the research, told the Global Times on Wednesday that the first outbreak that originated from the cruise Diamond Princess was contained around February. But Japan failed to stop imported cases from Europe and the US starting March, which caused the second wave.

        Those imported cases were brought by tourists and returning personnel. March is also the peak season for Japanese students to have graduation trips usually to Europe and the US and they eventually brought back the virus to Japan, Oishi said. 

        The study also suggested Japan is likely to have a third or fourth wave, and called for epidemic control measures in Japan not to be relaxed. 

        To curb imported cases, Japan tightened its borders to visitors from the US in late March when the US saw a spike in COVID-19 deaths. Imported cases made up about 1 in 4 infections in Japan at that time, Japan Times reported. 

        Liu Junhong, a research fellow at the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, said Japan banned non-citizen with travel history to China from entering in February, but left the door open for the US and Europe, which later became the epicenter of the pandemic.  

        The genome sequences of the coronavirus taken from patients on a lengthy infection chain in Northeast China's Heilongjiang Province also originated from the US, and showed significant differences from the virus spread in China in January and February.

        Witnessing China's quick response and strict measures, including a city lockdown and the wearing of masks when the virus was detected, Europe and the US remained flatfooted for more than a month and acted slow even when their domestic situation started to worsen, allowing the virus spread rapidly not only to Japan, but also Africa and Latin America, analysts said.  

        On Tuesday, the US saw one million coronavirus infections, or nearly a third of the world's total. 

        Wang Yiwei, an international relations professor at the Renmin University of China, told the Global Times that Europe and the US should be held responsible for the further spread of the pandemic. These countries only pay attention to smearing other countries and manipulating politics. 

        The US shut its door to China in January, and its out-of-control domestic infections are the result of rampant community transmissions caused by loose control measures. China, with the Wuhan lockdown and border controls of other countries, did not see many outbound visitors when the epidemic peaked in the country, experts said.

        With evidence showing the passivity of Europe and the US in fighting the COVID-19 and even spreading the coronavirus to other countries, it's odd that they continue to blame others for their own fault, Wang noted.


        Newspaper headline: Japan’s 2nd wave from West


        Posted in: SOCIETY,ASIA-PACIFIC

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