November 15, 2009
There was recently a H1N1 flu case in my company. Immediately it was announced and we had to stop working right away and go to the hospital to do tests to see if any employee was infected. When we went back to the office, we had to disinfect our hands with alcohol at the building entrance, we had to gargle a liquid that tasted like betadine that is supposed to help to kill any virus that could have gotten into our moth/throat and we had to wear a mask. When we entered our office space there was people disinfecting our furniture, computers, telephones, windows and even the walls. We also had some new gadgets in the rooms; the president urgently bought some huge ion generators with a special button that when pressed is supposed to clean the air and kill viruses.
Everybody wearing a mask, smelling like disinfectant and the noise of ion generators on the background; that was the work atmosphere for more than a week until the president lowered the emergency status and we could work again without covering half of our faces.
8 days later the flu virus victim came back to work. As soon as he arrived, before we could even ask him how he was, he bowed to everybody and he told us:
“I am very sorry for having caused you such big inconvenience, trouble, nuisance and for getting you worried.”
Notice that from his perspective, he is NOT a victim, he is the culprit of having caused so much trouble to the company: because he couldn’t work for one week and we had to wear a mask and worry about our health.
The head patch was optional, I don’t really know if it’s useful if you are not ill but Yamamoto-san and Yamazaki-san were wearing it during the whole week.
The gargle liquid
A secretary disinfecting my keyboard.
Try to look for somebody without a mask.
Washing hands with alcohol.
Picture of last year Japan swine flu panic.