Adoption of personal protective measures by ordinary citizens during the COVID-19 outbreak in Japan

Int J Infect Dis. 2020 May:94:139-144. doi: 10.1016/j.ijid.2020.04.014. Epub 2020 Apr 10.


Objectives: To clarify the implementation status of personal protective measures by ordinary citizens in Japan during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak.

Methods: This was a cross-sectional study based on internet-based survey. A total of 2400 people (50% male: 20-79 years) were selected between February 25 and 27, 2020, from registrants of an Internet research company, to complete a questionnaire. Participants were asked to indicate how often they implemented the following five personal protective measures recommended by the World Health Organization (hand hygiene, social distancing measures, avoiding touching the eyes, nose and mouth, respiratory etiquette, and self-isolation). In addition, the participants responded to questions regarding the daily frequency of hand hygiene events.

Results: The prevalence of the five personal protective measures ranged from 59.8% to 83.8%, with the lowest being avoiding touching the eyes, nose, and mouth. In total, 34.7% implemented all personal protective measures. The median daily hand hygiene events were 5 per day (25th percentile, 75th percentile: 3,8).

Conclusions: The protective measures implemented by ordinary citizens are insufficient and further public awareness activities are required.

Keywords: COVID-19; Epidemiology; Outbreak; Prevention; Protective measures; Public health.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Betacoronavirus*
  • COVID-19
  • Communicable Disease Control
  • Coronavirus Infections / epidemiology
  • Coronavirus Infections / prevention & control*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Disease Outbreaks
  • Female
  • Hand Hygiene
  • Health Behavior*
  • Humans
  • Japan / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Masks
  • Middle Aged
  • Pandemics / prevention & control*
  • Pneumonia, Viral / epidemiology
  • Pneumonia, Viral / prevention & control*
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Young Adult