“Five high-risk situations” which increase the risk of infection and How to reduce infection at mealtimes

Japan’s advisory panel on the coronavirus pandemic introduces “Five high-risk situations” that can lead to cluster infections and “How to reduce infection risks at mealtimes.”

In order to reduce the spread of the new coronavirus infection, it is necessary to prevent occurence of clusters. 

The analyses of clusters so far revealed “Five situations” which increase the risk of infection.

Also, a number of clusters have occurred especially at mealtimes with drinking alcohol.

So, Japan’s advisory panel also introduced how to reduce infection risks at mealtimes.

“Five situations” which increase the risk of infection

  1. Social gatherings with drinking alcohol(get-togethers)

When you feel good by drinking alcohol, you will have less attention and speak in a louder voice.

In particular, the risk of infection increases when a large number of people are in a small space partitioned for a long time.

In addition, sharing glasses and chopsticks increases the risk of infection.

  1. Long feasts in a large group

Long-term meals, dinner in a bar or a club which serve alcohol, and drinking alcohol in several places increase the risk of infection.

Do not take too much time for dinner.

Also, you will speak in a louder voice when eating and drinking in a large group (5 or more people) . Droplets of saliva will spread more often and the risk of infection will increase.

  1. Conversation without a mask

Talking at close range without a mask increases the risk of infection.

Cases of infection without a mask have actually been observed.

Be careful when traveling by car or bus.

  1. Living together in a small space

Living together in a small space increases the risk of infection because you will share a closed space with several people for a long time.

There have actually been cases of infection in dormitory rooms and common areas such as bathrooms.

  1. Switching locations

Moving to another location, for example, during break time in workplace, increases the risk of infection.

There have actually been cases of infection in break rooms, smoking areas and changing rooms.

How to reduce infection risks at mealtimes

  • When drinking alcohol, A. in a small group for a short time, B. within an existing social circle, C. not drink too much, nor in several places, but drink moderately.
  • Do not share glasses or chopsticks. Use your own one.
  • Sit diagonally opposite. Avoid sitting directly across or right beside.
  • Wear a mask when you talk. Face shields and mouth shields are said to be less effective in preventing the spread of infection. 
  • Go to a restaurant which takes measures to prevent infection such as ventilation.
  • When you feel unwell, don’t get together.

To foreigners

There have been cases of clusters which are concerned with foreigners, for example, in a massive party to celebrate a special event of a native country, a restaurant which serves alcohol such as a pub, a workplace, or a dormitory.

Be cautious and take measures to prevent the spread of infection especially in these places.

Also, it is necessary to be careful about some lifestyle habits such as a hug.

About the things you should care about in everyday life, refer to this article, “Tips to Guard Yourself Against COVID-19 in Everyday Life.”

When you feel unwell, visit a medical institution.

In this article, “When You Are Feeling Unwell: COVID-19 Helplines in Tokyo and Surrounding Areas,” you can get information about consultation services offered by each municipality in the Greater Tokyo area.

On the website of Cabinet Secretariat, multilingual leaflets are available.

In addition to the information in this article, you can get more information useful to prevent the spread of infection.

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