A message from the Governor of Iwate about COVID-19 (Dec 4th)
Message from Governor Tasso:
-A message given by Governor Tasso during the 25th meeting of the Iwate Prefecture COVID-19 Countermeasures HQ (Dec 4th)-
Since the month of November, we have been seeing multiple cases of cluster infections occurring at workplaces, restaurants, and also at facilities for the elderly. We fear that there is now an increased risk of more cluster cases occurring, not only within families, but also at medical institutions and schools.
In addition to the huge spike in infections, we are also seeing infections spreading to people, such as the elderly or those with pre-existing conditions, who are at a higher risk of reaching critical conditions or even death.
Moreover, with the end-of-the-year (nenmatsu nenshi) holidays approaching at the end of the month, infections will most likely spread even further as more people travel and gather during this national holiday season.
I would like to remind all residents and visitors of Iwate to follow strict preventative measures, whether it be at your workplace or at your home or anywhere you go.
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 (against 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.
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 or 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 businesses, please implement strict prevention measures based on industry-specific guidelines and keep a record of the health and daily activities of your employees.
- 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.
- For hospitals and clinics, please urge any patients with symptoms, such as a fever, to take the PCR test.
Safety measures during the end-of-the-year (nenmatsu nenshi) holidays:
- While I will not implement travel restrictions for the nenmatsu nenshi season, I ask that, as our residents travel, visit back home, or go to temples or shrines for hatsumode, they avoid going at popular times or go at a different time altogether in order to prevent areas from getting crowded.
Staying calm and extending your compassion:
- I would like to kindly remind everyone to stay calm and have compassion to the 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 am aware that several industries, such as the restaurant industry, have been severely impacted and are in an extremely tough situation given that the number of residents eating out or going out has decreased due to the recent cluster cases in restaurants.
To help these struggling industries, the Iwate Prefectural Government has worked with municipalities to formulate its own support measures, such as rent assistance, to reduce the personal fixed costs of business owners.
Furthermore, we are now proposing a 6th supplementary budget at the regular prefectural assembly meeting held this month in December.
In the proposed budget, in regards to “medical measures”, we are proposing additional funding needed to conduct simultaneous testing for both the seasonal influenza and the novel coronavirus.
Regarding “educational measures”, we are also proposing increased funding to cover the costs of canceled or postponed school trips to reduce the financial stress of the affected families.
In regards to “economic and employment measures”, we are looking to increase the lending limit of the government-affiliated loan lending program from 200 billion yen to 320 billion yen to financially support struggling SMEs and individuals during the end-of-the-year (nenmatsu) holiday season.
The prefectural government will continue to do their absolute best to combat the pandemic in cooperation with municipalities and related organizations.
Thank you very much.
Office of International Affairs, Department of Homeland Promotion
(020-8570) 10-1 Uchimaru, Morioka City, Iwate Prefecture, JAPAN
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