A message from Governor Tasso during a meeting of the Iwate Prefecture COVID-19 Countermeasures HQ (Dec. 28th)

Iwate prefecture

A message from Governor Tasso during a meeting of the Iwate Prefecture COVID-19 Countermeasures HQ (Dec. 28th)

As the year-end holidays approach, the coronavirus is spreading at a pace not yet seen before,
and Japan has seen a record number of COVID-19 cases – 3,880 cases were recorded on December 26th.

Within Iwate, there is also a new restaurant-based cluster that has formed in the Ichinoseki city region.
Iwate is working at full strength to discover infections early and to prevent further spread
by conducting tests more widely than those strictly termed as “close contact” (as determined by the national government).
To anyone who may have visited this restaurant during the target time period,
we ask that you cooperate in stopping the spread of the virus by contacting the Ichinoseki Public Health Center.

Regarding Iwate’s healthcare system, in the most recent week (as of today, Dec. 28th),
we have had 3.5 new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people, and our hospital bed usage is at 23% of our prepared capacity.
Our healthcare system is not in danger of collapse in the near future.

However, it can’t be denied that our risk in Iwate is growing due to how the virus is spreading throughout the nation.
Additionally, with the year-end holidays approaching, there is an added risk of infection due to the increase of travel and people gathering.

That is why I would like to ask residents and visitors to Iwate to do the following:

Regarding travel to areas or regions with a large spread of infections:
・I would like to sincerely ask residents and visitors to make careful considerations when traveling
to regions that are or have been reporting “15 or more new cases within the most recent week (per a population of 100,000)”,
one of several conditions indicating the rate of infections; or also to and from places that have made announcements
to refrain non-urgent and non-essential travel.

Tokyo is continuing to see a record-high number of infection, and they have asked their residents to stay home for this year’s holidays,
and to avoid travelling to their hometowns.
Kanagawa Prefecture as well as called on residents to take special consideration when returning to their hometowns,
and/or to choose a different time to visit home.
To Iwate residents and those visiting from other prefectures,
I ask that you confirm and follow the countermeasures in place in other prefectures.

Safety measures during the end-of-the-year (nenmatsu nenshi) holidays:
・While I will not implement travel restrictions for the nenmatsu nenshi holidays,
I ask that, as our residents travel, visit back home, or go to temples or shrines for hatsumode,
they avoid going at peak times or go at a different time altogether in order to prevent areas from getting crowded.

Regarding preventative measures:
・Please continue to take basic measures such as wearing masks at all times,
washing your hands with soap, practicing coughing etiquette, ventilating frequently, adjusting humidity, and etc.
・Please check your health every day including monitoring your body temperature.
・If you are feeling ill with symptoms like a high fever or a cough, please refrain from leaving your home,
and consult with either your primary care/family doctor or the COVID-19 Consultation Center.
・Please avoid eating out in places that are at a risk of meeting all the “3 Cs”: close communication with others,
closed space that are poorly ventilated, and crowded areas.
・For families or those close to the family with an elderly family member or someone with pre-existing conditions,
I strongly urge to take extra precautions in following preventative measures to avoid the virus spreading
to them since they are known to have a higher risk of reaching critical conditions when infected.

・For customers and workers of restaurants that provide in-person services,
please make use of the “If-Scenario-Support-Iwate” initiatives and installing COCOA (COVID-19 Contact Confirming App)
on your phones for contact tracing should you test positive, and also for keeping record of your contact information.

Staying calm and extending your compassion:
・I would like to kindly remind everyone to stay calm and have compassion for patients including those close to them.
Please do not harass or discriminate them.
・Additionally, please do not forget to thank and support healthcare workers and those working in fields
that are essential to sustain the daily lives of Iwate residents.

I ask the residents and visitors of Iwate to thoroughly carry out infection prevention measures
as we have a peaceful year-end holiday season.

Thank you very much.

December 28th, 2020
Tasso Takuya, Governor of Iwate