Only 21% cleaning hands appropriately in Japan amid pandemic: survey

Kyodo -- Feb 07
Just over 21 percent of people in Japan are washing or sanitizing their hands appropriately amid the novel coronavirus pandemic, according to an online survey by a team drawn from Tokyo Medical University and other institutions.

The survey was conducted in June, after a decline in the daily number of COVID-19 infections and the lifting of the first coronavirus state of emergency in late May. The research was published in the Japanese Journal of Infectious Diseases in late December.

Masaki Machida, a research associate in Tokyo Medical University's Department of Preventive Medicine and Public Health, who led the research, said people may have improved their hygiene because alcohol hand sanitizers had been placed at numerous locations since the start of the pandemic.

"But attention to preventing infection may have diminished among some people due to coronavirus fatigue. It is important to continue encouraging hand hygiene," Machida said.

In the survey, respondents were asked if they washed their hands with soap or used alcohol hand sanitizers in five situations -- before eating food, after returning from public places, after going to the toilet, after touching something outside, and after blowing their nose, coughing or sneezing.

Of the respondents, 76.4 percent replied that they "always" cleaned their hands after returning from public places, followed by 68.1 percent who did so after going to the toilet. Only 30.2 percent did so after blowing their nose, coughing or sneezing, the lowest figure for the five situations.

- Kyodo