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Message from the Governor (as of 12/4/2020)

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Cases of COVID-19 are rapidly rising, and have exceeded the warning standards set by the prefecture (note: we are currently in Level 2).

Should infections continue to rise like this, we may be forced to implement movement restrictions and request that citizens stay home in December. In order to prevent this from happening, we must stop the spread of infection right here, right now, at this very critical juncture in time.

In order to do this, I will explain measures taken by the prefectural government, and measures which I would like all citizens to take.

First, the facts of our current situation:

The number of COVID-19 cases have sharply increased beginning in November and continuing into December. During this wave of infections, there have been many small scale individual infections on top of outbreak clusters, all of which has led to a sharp increase in cases.

Regarding the number of days from infection to diagnosis: the key to stopping the spread is ensuring that the number of days from infection to diagnosis is kept as short as possible. Beginning in November, 50% of cases were diagnosed within three days, which is a much shorter span of time compared to how it was previously.

I would like to express my gratitude to the citizens of the prefecture for seeing doctors early and helping to reduce the spread of infection. The sooner you are diagnosed, the less risk there is for infection to spread. Even if you think it might just be a cold, I advise you to visit your regular doctor or call the COVID-19 Call Center immediately.

We ran an analysis on who our COVID-19 patients are comprised of. In early November, the highest percentage of patients were those who had contact with COVID-19-positive individuals outside of Hiroshima Prefecture, and those who had contact with COVID-19-positive individuals from outside of the prefecture inside of Hiroshima Prefecture. In late November, the percentage of cases among those going to restaurant/bar establishments and workers at said establishments have been on the rise. It is necessary for all restaurants/bars to further strengthen their infection prevention measures.

Currently, medical care systems in Hiroshima Prefecture are not being strained; however, looking at factors such as the current number of new cases, it has been deemed comprehensively that the situation exceeds our warning standards, and thus I have declared a Declaration of Increased Alert in Hiroshima Prefecture.

There are two scenarios for how the infection situation may unfold:

Scenario 1 (calculated based on trends in Hokkaido, Aichi, and Saitama Prefecture where infections increase rapidly)

If infections continue at this rate, we will exceed the criteria for Stage 3 on December 21, and will be forced to ask citizens to comply with the following strict measures:

  • Avoid unnecessary outings
  • Shortened hours of operation for restaurants/bars serving alcohol
  • Re-evaluate the standards for holding events
  • Avoid using tourism discount plans such as Go To Travel (etc)

Scenario 2 (calculated based on Ibaraki and Miyagi (similar population sizes) and Fukuoka (similar infection situation))

If we strengthen our infection prevention measures now, we do expect that the current situation will continue for a limited period of time; however, it is expected that the situation will begin to settle down by around December 20.

In order to make Scenario 2, not Scenario 1, a reality, strict infection prevention measures will be implemented.

To this end, the Hiroshima Prefecture Active Guard Declaration Initiatives are as follows:

  • Cooperate closely with medical institutions and increase the number of beds to over 300 within one week
  • Expected to be able to secure over 200 rooms in hotels for patient use
  • Prevent facility clusters with regular testing in medical institutions and welfare facilities

Measures for Restaurants/Bars

  • Inform establishments to undertake infection-via-droplets prevention measures, such as installing acrylic panels, using subsidies
  • Visit and survey each establishment
  • Continue operation of the Nagarekawa Active Guard Health Clinic

Early Testing Measures

  • It is currently possible to receive tests at over 1,000 facilities in cities and towns across Hiroshima Prefecture
  • Cooperate closely with cities and towns to implement measures as a prefecture united while sharing information

We will also be newly establishing the Hiroshima PCR Center.

In addition to making use of the Nagarekawa Active Guard Health Clinic, we are also looking into creating a drive-thru testing site in a separate location where citizens can receive quick testing without being diagnosed by a doctor.

These facilities will be for use by those who work in elderly care facilities, facilities for the disabled, medical institutions, restaurant/bar employees, and those who have been in contact with the aforementioned employees.

I would like to ask the following four things of all prefectural citizens:

  1. Be careful when visiting other regions
    Carefully consider the need to travel to regions with increased cases, including discussing postponement or switching to an online format.
  2. Use masks even with those close to you
    When in situations where you remove your masks, be sure there are measures in place to prevent infection via droplets.
  3. Taking time off/allowing for time off
    We ask that employees take time off if they are feeling unwell, and that employers allow their employees to take time off
  4. Early detection protects the community
    Shortening the number of days between infection and diagnosis not only protects you, but also the lives of family, friends, and those around you. Even if you only feel a little unwell, we urge you to contact your regular doctor or call the COVID-19 Call Center immediately.

Anyone can catch COVID-19. If you become infected, we ask that you actively cooperate with health center investigations.

If it were any other year, we would all be looking forward to end of the year gatherings and parties; however, I ask that you do not go to restaurants/bars which do not have sufficient infection prevention measures in place.

Please also bear in mind the Five Situations<外部リンク> set out by the Subcommittee on Novel Coronavirus Disease Control (Japanese government), which offers advice about situations in which to exercise caution, such as social gatherings with alcohol where loud voices may be used, or the increase in infection risk that comes with having meals together for extended periods of time, and we ask that you ensure strict infection prevention measures. Be sure implement to measures such as choosing restaurants with acrylic panels, having masked social gatherings, and covering your mouth with a handkerchief when you speak.

To business owners

I ask that you strictly follow the infection prevention guidelines for your industry. In addition, as working from home effectively reduces contact, I ask that you actively promote working from home through setting target numbers (etc).

For employees who are unwell, encourage and allow them to be tested. Should any of your employees test positive, have them follow the directions given to them by doctors or public health nurses, and have your business cooperate with health center investigations. During these investigations, they will ask for a two-week record of the activities of employees; be sure to keep a record of employee activity on a daily basis.

To restaurant owners

Implement strict infection-via-droplets prevention measures: place acrylic panels in front of and next to seats (subsidies available).

Or, implement masked gatherings (where customers put their masks back on between bites), and encourage customers to cover their mouths with handkerchiefs when speaking. If this proves difficult, we ask that you install acrylic panels.

Under the three keywords of Masks, Disinfection, and QR, we also ask that you encourage customers to scan the COVID-19 QR code and ensure customers wear masks and sanitize their hands at the door.

To medical institution/testing facility employees

I would like to offer my gratitude for continuing to fight at the frontlines, and I ask for your continued commitment to testing.

As a prefecture united, let us overcome this incredibly crucial and pivotal time together.

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