A message from Governor Tasso during the 37th meeting of the Iwate Prefecture COVID-19 Countermeasures HQ (August 12, 2021)

Iwate prefecture

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As of today, the number of new cases per 100,000 people in the most recent week for Iwate Prefecture has reached over 15 at 16.5 cases.

Ever since the Delta variant was confirmed here in early July, new infection cases in the amount of two-digits are being reported the past few days. In addition, the spread of infection is not limited to one region or area, but widely across the prefecture.

The Delta variant has been suggested to be more infectious, even with the slightest contact. Moreover, while it may not result in a severe condition, many infected people with symptoms such as a high fever and extreme fatigue will still have to be hospitalized.

 We are at the stage where we must take drastic preventative measures to suppress the number of infected patients. Otherwise, hospital beds and medical services will be severely strained, resulting in not saving lives that could have been saved. It is imperative that we avoid this situation.

Therefore, as a reinforced measure to prevent the spread of infection, I will declare a Prefectural State of Emergency for Iwate.
I understand we are just entering obon season and summer vacation, but I would like to implore the following safety measures to reduce close contact situations as much as possible.

To all Iwate residents, please refrain any non-urgent and non-essential travels. As I have requested before, please cancel or postpone any non-urgent and non-essential outings that will have you cross prefectural lines, including leisure travel and visits to your home.

I believe many have plans to meet with family and relatives to conduct obon-related memorial services or visit the family grave, or perhaps even host a barbecue party for the summer. However, please cancel or postpone these plans during the State of Emergency. If you must gather for unavoidable circumstances, please strictly avoid family get-together meals and other similar situations.

We are also seeing infection cases from people returning home from other prefectures. Even if you reunite with friends you have not seen for a while, please strictly avoid eating meals together, etc.

People who are fully vaccinated have also been reportedly infected. Even if you are asymptomatic or have light symptoms, you may still be spreading the virus without realizing it. Please continue to follow basic preventative measures such as wearing a mask until majority of the population has been fully vaccinated.

For businesses, please continue to promote teleworking, rotation shift working, and online meetings as much as possible to reduce contact with other people.

Cases of people being infected when eating out on business trips have also been reported. If you do need to travel for business, please be extra careful to follow safety measures.

Additionally, please practice safety measures in several areas in your workplace, such as break rooms, locker rooms, smoking rooms, cafeteria, etc.

For restaurants, I would like to continue to ask that you thoroughly comply with industry-specific guidelines and take part in the “Iwate Restaurant Safety Authentication” program.

I understand restaurants and many other businesses may be financially impacted as the number of people going out will decrease with this declaration. The prefectural government will provide necessary assistance.

As for schools, please reconsider any out-of-school activities, especially if it involves interaction with outside parties. Please also halt club activities during the summer.

For medical institutions, please proactively conduct tests to those with symptoms such as a fever.

The rate of infection across the country is not slowing down. Infection risk in Iwate is also increasing more than ever. To all residents and visitors, I urge your cooperation to prevent an increase of new cases not only to protect yourself but also your family, relatives, and friends.

The Prefectural State of Emergency will be lifted once the number of new cases per 100,000 people in the most recent week for Iwate drops to 10 and below. So let us all work together as a whole to reach that state as soon as we can.

Thank you very much.