Japan and South Korea never did full lockdowns. It left lessons on how to coexist with the virus.

TOKYO – In Japan, the newly minted prime minister has vowed to create a path into the “post-corona era.” South Korea has launched a “living with covid-19” panel of experts.

Like many countries, both are navigating a way to safely coexist with the coronavirus in the face of increasing economic pressures and a potential new wave of infections in the winter.

But unlike many other countries, neither Japan nor South Korea imposed a full lockdown and have been trying to coexist with the virus all along.

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They pursued a middle ground – consider it lockdown lite – that relied on the cooperation of citizens already accustomed to mask-wearing and social distancing in response to previous respiratory epidemics. Businesses, more or less, voluntarily closed early to help keep the virus at bay.

The approach hasn’t been perfect, and both countries have faced waves of cases, especially with the delta variant.



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