Clusters at Japanese workplaces due to inadequate anti-COVID measures

Japan's health ministry has found that clusters at workplaces were due to insufficient anti-COVID measures.
By: | September 13, 2021

Investigations by the Health, Labour and Welfare Ministry showed that clusters occurred in workplaces which did not meet the government-set list of measures to prevent workplace transmissions such as failing to install acrylic boards between desks. 

The ministry’s survey covered workplaces hit by clusters in 18 locations, including offices and factories in Wakayama and Gifu prefectures, where group infections of at least six people occurred between October 2020 and May 2021. 

The list of 17 measures to curb the spread of the virus included ensuring that employees wear masks and office spaces are ventilated regularly. Only one of the workplaces had implemented at least 80% of these measures. The average adherence rate was 48%. 

While more than 90% of workplaces had taken steps such as measuring employees’ temperatures and setting up disinfection equipment at entrances, none of the 18 locations had paper towels in their bathrooms. In addition, only one workplace had closed its employee smoking space, where transmission risks are high. 

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The survey also found that less than 20% of the workplaces had installed acrylic boards on conference tables and other desks. 

The government-issued list of measures to reduce transmission also includes getting employees to work from home if any of their family member shows coronavirus symptoms; advising workers with symptoms to take COVID-19 tests; disinfecting items and equipment used by multiple employees and disallowing employees from eating together, according to The Mainichi.