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How the tracing method is helping the Japanese curb the Covid-19 epidemic


FOCUS – The “retrospective” tracing strategy already in practice for tuberculosis or measles is based on the way in which the virus is transmitted.

A person scans a barcode to detect if they have been in contact with the virus on June 24 in Takatsuki, Japan.
A person scans a barcode to detect if they have been in contact with the virus on June 24 in Takatsuki, Japan. Taketo Oishi / The Yomiuri Shimbun

Does the particular tracking strategy of Asian countries allow them to avoid the new wave of Covid-19 which is overwhelming Europe? While this is obviously not a miracle solution – Japan is also experiencing an upsurge in cases – it could help better control the circulation of the virus. In France, when a person tests positive, Medicare investigators will seek to find out who they may have infected. In South Korea, China, Singapore or Japan, investigators take the problem the other way around and seek to find out who the person was infected with. The objective: to go back to the source of the infection, to patient zero and to the place where the cluster may have formed, in order to then be able to prevent (and isolate) those who were present at that time, or who were in contact with the source.

This so-called “retrospective” tracing, already in practice for tuberculosis or measles, is based on the way in which the virus is transmitted. As explained

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