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Japan Defense Ministry releases anti-virus manual to help prevent infections at home

In this screenshot taken from the Defense Ministry website, a Self-Defense Force member shows how to take off a mask and how to discard it to prevent the spread of viruses.

TOKYO -- Japan's Defense Ministry has released an educational manual on the new coronavirus on its Joint Staff website, which includes basic information on the virus and pointers on the prevention of the spread of infections useful at home, such as how to safely take off masks and protective gloves.

The manual, titled "To protect the safety of the people from the new coronavirus," was released on April 14 and contains 39 pages of information on COVID-19. It was compiled under the supervision of the Ground Staff Office. The information is based on the knowhow of Japan's Self-Defense Forces (SDF) against infectious diseases. As SDF personnel's activities to support tackling the outbreak have become expansive, the ministry hopes to share the SDF's knowledge on how to prevent infections with private industries such as hotels.

As basic anti-virus measures, the manual lists some pointers, such as surfactants like sanitizers and soaps are effective in disinfecting hands and everyday objects, as well as that people should avoid the "three Cs" of confined spaces, crowded places and close contact with people. It also says eating enough, getting plenty of sleep and regular ventilation are important to prevent infections.

The manual introduces how to create a makeshift disinfectant by mixing absolute ethanol and water at a ratio of 8:2 as commercial products are currently hard to purchase due to shortages. It also shows how to dilute sodium hypochlorite included in bleach and other products and how to use it as a disinfectant.

To remove masks safely, a person should first disinfect their hands and then take the mask off while grabbing the elastic cords rather than the surface that covers the face, as touching it could risk infection. It also shows how to remove protective gloves: take one glove off without touching the inside and remove the other one by putting the inside of the already removed glove over the other. The manual also includes how to take off medical gowns and how to understand "zoning" to separate non-infected areas and areas with risks of transmissions and the necessary precautions to take.

The Defense Ministry had announced as of April 13 that nine individuals including SDF personnel were confirmed to have contracted the new coronavirus, but says no cases have been confirmed among those involved in disaster assistance activities.

(Japanese original by Yoshitake Matsuura, City News Department)

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