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WATCH: Japanese Experiment Shows How Covid-19 Spreads at a Buffet

By JOHN LEGASPI

If you’re living under a rock, you might not have heard of National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) chief Debold Sinas being under fire. In a Facebook post, NCRPO shared photos of Sinas’ birthday celebration, showing him blowing the candles on his cake and policemen giving him roses and lining up at the buffet table.

The photos went viral as these law enforcers broke the quarantine rules they are tasked to enforce, such as social distancing and the liquor ban.

Hindi matatawag na birthday party iyon. Mañanita iyon, tradition sa military and police, na kapagng commander, binabati ng happy birthday (You can’t call that a party. That’s a mañanita, a tradition in the military and police when it’s a commander’s birthday, you greet him when dawn breaks),” the chief said. “Hindi talaga siya party (It’s really not a party). (It is not) deliberate partying.”

Whether it was party or mañanita, whether or not there is even a difference between a party and a mañanita, whether there is no difference between a party and a prom or a graduation ball, a school tradition, or a party and a jamboree, a Boy Scouts tradition, or Sinulog, Ati-Atihan, Masskara, a religious tradition, the photos from the mañanita clearly indicates a violation of the many measures mandated by the ECQ.

Ah, the buffet, the all-you-can-eat communal dining tradition, is now perceived as high-risk for coronavirus spread and infection. This is because the setup relies on shared serving utensils and serving stations with food just sitting there.

This has pushed many industries—food, hospitality, gaming, et cetera—to reassess preparation, handling, and service, following strict guidelines and hygiene protocols.

To prove it, NHK, Japan’s public broadcasting organization, collaborated with infectious disease experts to do an experiment to see how fast and easy it is to spread a virus in a buffet scenario.
In the video, 10 participants were asked to take food from various displays of hot and cold dishes and drinks. One person was selected to be “infected.” The person’s hands had invisible fluorescent paint that was only seen under a black light. It represented the virus.

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Photo from NHK

For 30 minutes, the participants enjoyed the buffet as they moved from station to station. Then the room turned dark. With the help of ultraviolet light, the experiment revealed that traces of the glowing paint were seen among the participants and the equipment in the room.

Since the “infected” person touched items such as tongs, spoons, and container lids, the paint was passed onto others and transferred to other things such as mobile phones and clothing, even on their faces.

The buffet, the all-you-can-eat communal dining tradition, is now perceived as high-risk for coronavirus spread and infection. This is because the setup relies on shared serving utensils and serving stations with food just sitting there.

In another experiment, at another buffet—but this time they considered measures to protect themselves against the virus, they separated the dinnerware and constantly asked the participants to wash their hands before, during, and after eating. In the end, it showed that the paint was spread less by 97 percent compared to the first trial and did not show up on any of the participants’ faces.

In the Philippines, food establishments are currently limited to operate drive-thru and delivery services since the implementation of the enhanced community quarantine. But as many areas of the country are transitioning to general community quarantine, the government expects food businesses to still comply with strict hygiene protocols as soon as they start to serve the public again. Buffet owners and mañanitas throwers, however, may have to do more to win back trust.

Check out the full video NHK website.


Source: Manila Bulletin (https://lifestyle.mb.com.ph/2020/05/14/watch-japanese-experiment-shows-how-covid-19-spreads-at-a-buffet/)

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