Empathy Key to Success of Virus Fight as Fear Wanes: Experts

Society Lifestyle

Tokyo, Jan. 8 (Jiji Press)--Empathy and consideration are key to success in the fight against the novel coronavirus under a new Tokyo-area state of emergency amid receding fear of the virus, experts say.

Japan put Tokyo and the three surrounding prefectures of Saitama, Chiba and Kanagawa under the state of emergency Friday, planning to continue the measure until Feb. 7.

The public, already used to the unrelenting spread of infections and tired of life under self-imposed restrictions, seems less scared of the virus than during the previous COVID-19 state of emergency between April and May last year.

“Fear drove people to exercise self-control during the previous state of emergency. We can’t expect them to do the same this time,” said University of Tokyo economics professor Tsutomu Watanabe, who analyzed people’s movements during the epidemic from smartphone location information.

Watanabe said his analysis shows that the main reason people refrained from leaving home the previous time was not the emergency declaration itself but fear of the unknown virus.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press