A message from the Governor of Iwate about COVID-19 (March 6th)

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A message to Iwate residents

In order to combat the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), the Iwate Prefectural Government has established a countermeasures HQ with the Governor of Iwate as chief. By setting up special areas in medical facilities that can receive patients who have returned from abroad and/or had contact with an infected person, as well as call centers that can take calls from such persons, we will be able to give in-depth support to those who contact us about possible COVID-19 cases. We have also built a system that smoothly leads to tests and treatment for the virus should it be necessary. Furthermore, in order to stop the spread of the virus, we are working with organizations in a number of different fields that are closely involved with the safety and well-being of our people. In this way, we have carried out initiatives that aim to deter effects on our society and economy.

Fortunately, Iwate has not had any cases of COVID-19 thus far. However, cases are growing in number throughout the country, with some where it has been difficult to ascertain the route of transmission. I understand that there are many people in Iwate who are worried about the situation.

There have been cases like in Miyagi Prefecture, where someone has returned home (in this case, from the Diamond Princess cruise ship) and later determined to have had the virus.

We have not gotten information from the national government about anyone on the Diamond Princess who had then come to Iwate. However, in case a person is infected with COVID-19 and then comes to Iwate, a system is in place where that person can get tested in Iwate and get treated appropriately.

We are prepared to deal with singular COVID-19 cases in this matter, but there have also been cases where one person infects a whole group of people, like in Tokyo with their open-air river boats. We in Iwate will be able to respond to these cluster-type cases early on, but should the virus spread further, we will call on the national government for support.

Those infected with COVID-19 will not spread it to 80% of other people they meet. However, it is crucial that we work to prevent outbreaks caused by one person infecting many.

I would like to ask the people of Iwate to do the following:

- In order to protect yourself and those around you from infection, it is important that you understand and thoroughly carry out the normal methods of preventing any sort of infection: washing your hands and coughing etiquette (wear a mask or cough into your elbow).

- Should you come down with the symptoms of a cold, do not go to work or school and prevent unneccessary outings to public spaces. Should a fever or respiratory symptoms continue, or you otherwise think you may have COVID-19, please call the call centers (link below) that we have set up.

Depending on your symptoms, these centers will direct you to medical facilities taking possible COVID-19 patients, and you will be able to get tested for the disease. Also, depending on your symptoms and any chronic/serious illnesses you may already have, we may try to direct to you to your primary care doctor, or direct you to rest and recuperation at home.

- There is currently a shortage of toilet paper and other goods. Toilet paper is almost completely produced within Japan, so there is no need to worry that there will be domestic shortages. Please only buy what you need.

- Regarding masks, Japan had greatly relied on imports from China, which is why there is currently a domestic shortage of masks. The national government has called on the industry to increase their production output, but the priority is supplying these masks to the healthcare industry and other places that need them. We ask for your cooperation in this matter.

That is my message at this point to the people of Iwate.
Please stay informed and work to keep yourself and those around you safe.

March 6th, 2020
Tasso Takuya
Governor of Iwate

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Office of International Affairs, Department of Homeland Promotion
(020-8570) 10-1 Uchimaru, Morioka City, Iwate Prefecture, JAPAN
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