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Article ID:0000149676Updated on:2020年4月10日更新印刷ページ表示

Message from the Mayor Regarding COVID-19 (April 9)

On April 7, the Japanese National Government declared a state of emergency for seven metropolitan areas/prefectures, including Tokyo, deemed necessary to proceed with measures concentrated on stopping the spread of COVID-19. This declaration was based on the Special Measures Against Novel Strains of Influenza Act. We have seen surges in the numbers of confirmed infections in these areas, which put our medical systems in a state of crisis as we approach the limit of hospital bed numbers, and our hardworking medical staff are placed under considerable stress. What is most important is controlling the speed at which the infection spreads as much as is humanly possible, so as to prevent a collapse of our medical systems.

In this time of crisis, Hiroshima has reports of cases where the route of infection cannot be traced, and I believe that we must act with more vigilance than ever as the risk of infection begins to rise even in our limited day-to-day lives.

I therefore continue to ask you, the citizens of Hiroshima, to practice the proper coughing etiquette, frequently wash your hands (for at least 20 seconds with soap and water), self-isolate if you have a fever or cough, and proactively avoid the 3Cs (closed spaces, crowded places, close-contact settings) to avoid infection personally, and to avoid the transmission of infection to others.

I also ask for citizens to avoid unnecessary travel to and from the seven metropolitan areas/prefectures included in the state of emergency, and if it is absolutely necessary to make a trip to those places, avoid the 3Cs (closed spaces, crowded places, close-contact settings) and take the necessary precautions to protect your health.

In order to successfully contain the spread of the virus in our city, it is absolutely necessary that, in addition to the current measures in place, every citizen be aware of their actions and consider: what would I do if I were infected? How could I prevent the spread of infection to others?

The fight against the spread of COVID-19 is not a fight between those infected and those not; it is a fight between an unseen virus and individuals, and we must treat it as such to formulate a successful containment strategy. It is of the utmost importance that all of us, each and every citizen of Hiroshima City, stands united in taking the necessary steps to prevent the further spread of the virus to others.

One such example of citizens coming together to work towards stopping the spread of COVID-19 is the Hiroshima City Central Wholesale Market. Those involved in business there, be they staff, wholesalers, or buyers, are currently continuing operations in accordance with the Basic Guidelines for Workers in the Food Industry on Measures for Managing COIVD-19 Infections and Continuing Operations, as set forth by the national government, to prevent the transmission of the virus.

 I know that there are those of you who cannot avoid the 3Cs (closed spaces, crowded places, close-contact settings) in your daily commutes to work; however, I ask that you find methods and solutions to containing the spread of the virus steeped in your own personal awareness, as previously mentioned.

The number of positive cases by population in the seven metropolitan areas/prefectures under state of emergency are relatively high compared to our city, and every day, those numbers continue to rise. With the beginning of the new fiscal year, many people from those seven areas have come to our city, be it through workplace transfers or for university. To all of these new citizens, I ask the following: keep a record of your actions (where you have been, etc), and take proactive measures to ensure and protect your health. To businesses and universities: be aware of the health of your employees and students.

I ask all citizens for their utmost cooperation in testing: should you develop symptoms such as a fever, cough, strong lethargy, loss of sense of taste/smell, you should immediately report to your local health center<外部リンク>. If you are deemed likely to have COVID-19, you will be given a PCR test on a preferential basis.

I am aware that with an increase of health awareness in our citizens comes an increase in citizens looking for diagnosis and care at medical institutions. The City of Hiroshima will be distributing masks from its emergency reserves to medical facilities on a priority basis to ensure that they may continue to provide proper medical treatment to our citizens and to dispel citizen concern.

As for our city schools, classes were resumed in April after ensuring that proper measures were in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19 under the School Reopening Guidelines set forth by the national government. However, with the state of emergency declaration by the national government and a number of confirmed cases in the city from those who have traveled to or been transferred from areas under state of emergency in April, our city has now entered a new phase in the fight against the virus. It is vital that that the City of Hiroshima now take measures under the assumption that we will be declared a red zone for the spread of infection.

Based on these facts, I would like to request that the Board of Education open talks with the prefecture and related organizations regarding measures such as closing all schools in Hiroshima City.

Medical institutions and experts, businesses, and citizens, I ask you to continue to work to fight the spread of COVID-19 and together, we shall overcome these trying times.

Regarding the effects of the virus on our economy: with the rise of patient numbers in Hiroshima City, there has been a marked decrease in the movement of people and goods, leaving a large impact on our economy, including a loss of profits for many businesses.

The City of Hiroshima has established consultation desks for businesses in the Hiroshima City Small and Medium Enterprise Support Center and in the Industrial Promotion Department. From February 25 to April 8, these desks have received 1,799 consultations. Of these, a majority of the consultations were regarding funding, making clear the devastating economic effects of the virus on the small and medium businesses and small-scale enterprises which make up the industry of our city.

The number of certification applications for safety nets which are necessary for small businesses to receive funding are at 720 as of yesterday, coming in at a pace of 40-50 applications per day, and we are working to certify the applications as they arrive.

On April 7, the national government announced the COVID-19 Emergency Economic Policy, a compensation program for businesses experiencing a sharp decline in income which includes new support measures for small and medium businesses/small enterprises who are struggling to continue operations. Once the national government has made the details of this policy available, the City of Hiroshima will work to carry out the policy effectively, including getting information to those in need as quickly as possible.

The City of Hiroshima is also working on measures of our own which will work effectively during both phases of this crisis: the Emergency Support Phase (until the spread of the virus is completely contained) and the Recovery Phase (after the virus has been completely contained), while filling in the gaps and strengthening the support measures which have been announced by the national government.

As an example, the restaurants in our city are currently facing a great time of crisis, and many have shifted their services from table to takeout in order to remain viable. If we implement measures which will lead to a boost in business after the virus has been completely contained together with the citizens of our city supporting takeout services of city restaurants, then not only will the economy of our city survive while continuing to avoid crowded places and close-contact settings, but we can also expect further economic expansion during the Recovery Phase. These are the kind of citizen-driven initiatives which the City of Hiroshima would like to proactively support.

In order to support our city, we must act quickly in cementing our support initiatives, and it is my will that we begin working to implement these support initiatives by early May, if possible.

April 9, 2020

The Sixth Hiroshima City COVID-19 Countermeasures Headquarters Meeting

 


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