Political crisis management of the novel coronavirus：proposals by a former health minister who tackled the novel influenza in 2009.
The third point is the importance of political leaders' leadership. At the time of the outbreak of the novel influenza in 2009, I held a press conference as the health minister on a daily basis, speaking directly to the Japanese people. In the current crisis, President Xi Jinping of China, President Moon Jae-in of South Korea and Prime Minister Abe Shinzo of Japan brought their respective countries to a new phase in the fight against the novel coronavirus by directly calling on the people to be united in taking action to contain the disease.
The fourth point is that it is useful to organize a team of researchers who are experts in infectious diseases and seek advice. Ideally, two or more teams should be created and be asked to express their respective ideas and present proposals so that the best solution can be found. At the time of the novel influenza in 2009, I received analysis reports from Team A and Team B and ultimately adopted the proposal from Team B. The result was successful.
The fifth point is the importance of flexibly adapting the response to the crisis according to the phase of the containment process. When the novel influenza spread nationwide in 2009, drugs to treat the disease were found and it became clear that home care for patients is more effective than hospital care and contributes to the prevention of in-hospital infection. Therefore, we changed our policy and made it a principle to have patients with mild symptoms receive treatment at home, rather than being hospitalized. As a result, we succeeded in preventing our healthcare system from collapsing under the burden of tackling the new virus. In the case of this novel coronavirus, too, it is feasible to make a similar policy change.