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Three Cs (public health)

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“Three Cs”

Three Cs (3つの密, Mittsu no Mitsu, lit. "Three 'Close's"), also written Three C's or 3密 (San Mitsu), is a slogan originated by the Japanese government in 2020 in combating the COVID-19 pandemic.[1]

The slogan warns people[2] to avoid three factors that contribute to clusters of infection:

  • Closed spaces (密閉) with poor ventilation
  • Crowded places (密集) with many people nearby
  • Close-contact settings (密接) such as close-range conversations

and especially the combination of them.


The Three Cs were announced by the office of the Prime Minister of Japan on Twitter on March 17, 2020.[3] This followed work by the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare on how to prevent superspreader events and other clusters (クラスター), including the February 25th, 2020 establishment of a Cluster Countermeasures Group within the ministry.[4]

Use beyond Japan[edit]

WHO recommendation[edit]

On July 16, 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) posted[5] a recommendation to "Avoid the Three Cs", in terms very similar to those used in English by the Japanese government.


  1. "3つの"密"を避けて外出を…新型コロナで厚労省が新たな注意喚起を公表". FNNプライムオンライン (in 日本語). Retrieved 2020-04-18.
  2. "Avoid the "Three Cs"!" (PDF). Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare. Retrieved 2020-09-30.
  3. 首相官邸(災害・危機管理情報) (2020-03-17). "【注意喚起】#新型コロナウイルス に関するお知らせ". Twitter @kantei_saigai (in 日本語). Retrieved 2020-04-18.
  4. "「3つの密」、誕生の背景とは? - 押谷・東北大教授(厚労省クラスター対策班)|医療維新 - m3.comの医療コラム". www.m3.com (in 日本語). Retrieved 2020-05-15.
  5. @WHO (2020-07-16). "Avoid the 3 Cs. There are certain places where #COVID19 spreads more easily: (1) Crowded places (2) Close-contact settings (3) Confined and enclosed spaces" (Tweet). Retrieved 2020-09-30 – via Twitter.

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