We have received a lot of public health news over the course of the pandemic, from Boris Johnson’s OG mantra “Stay Home Protect the NHS, Save Lives” to his much derided substitute “Stay Vigilant” and perhaps the simplest of them all, presented last summer – “Hands, Face, Space”.
The latter turned into “Hands, Face, Dance” on Sunday evening when party-goers flocked to the nightclubs to see so-called “Freedom Day”.
But despite the relaxation of almost all remaining Covid-19 restrictions on July 19, there are many people who want or have to remain cautious.
With Covid cases rising and the government sending out a new message of personal responsibility, England’s Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Professor Jonathan Van-Tam, had the following advice on Monday.
“I’m just going to come back to what I said more than once on this podium,” Professor Van Tam said at the Downing Street press conference.
“The principles of how Covid and other respiratory viruses spread follow the Japanese three Cs that the Japanese government has used to advise its citizens from the start of this pandemic.”
So what are the Japanese three Cs?
It is the health message that Japan’s government has been promoting since March 2020, namely to avoid three overlapping conditions. As Professor Van Tam explained on Monday (and not for the first time), these are:
“C number one: closed settingswhere ventilation is relatively poor.
“C number two: crowded attitudeswhere there are many people per square meter.
“C number three: close social contactif that is why you are there and especially when you are with strangers or people you normally do not hang out with. “
As Professor Van Tam made clear: “These are the things that concern us as scientists, wherever they arise and under what circumstances.”
# COVID19 update: Novel #Coronavirus experts emphasize the need to avoid three overlapping conditions. The “three Cs” are: closed spaces, crowded places and environments with close contact. https://t.co/YYg68WBsxo (please follow guidelines for public use of this poster.) pic.twitter.com/dON2CasDAE
– Office of the Prime Minister of Japan (@JPN_PMO) March 29, 2020
His reminder came amid questions about nightclub Covid safety and the government’s announcement that from September all individuals who go to clubs and major events will be required to provide a vaccination record to prove they have either been stung twice or negative for Covid 19 were tested.
“I don’t think picking a particular type of building or type of business is particularly helpful [that has risk]“, Said Professor Van-Tam on Monday. “I could create the three Japanese Cs by inviting a crowd of strangers into a garden shed and having a beer with the door closed. That would do it. “
The message to the public: continue to be careful about your own interactions to reduce your personal risk of contracting – or transmitting – Covid-19. It only helps to keep the Japanese Cs in mind.
It remains to be seen how Japan will implement its own public health guidelines at the Tokyo Olympics, which will be attended by thousands of athletes.