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Article ID:0000261264Updated on:2022年2月22日更新印刷ページ表示

[Re-extended] Intensive COVID-19 Infection Prevention Measures Under Semi-State of Emergency (Excerpt; as of 2/19/2022)

The following is from the Hiroshima Prefectural Government:

The spread of the highly infectious Delta variant, which coincided with a period of travel and activity, namely summer vacation and Obon summer holidays, started in mid-July and came to an end in October 2021 after peaking to, at the time, unprecedented levels. Beginning in October, infection levels across Japan continued to fall and remained relatively low.

On November 30 of last year, the very first domestic case of the even more highly infectious Omicron variant was confirmed at an airport quarantine station. Since late December, in addition to infections deemed to be caused by community transmission having been confirmed in areas across Japan, the variant’s arrival coincided with the busy New Year travel season, causing an unprecedented rapid rise in infections in regions across the country, including Hiroshima Prefecture.

As such, it has been decided that beginning on January 9, 2022, Hiroshima Prefecture will be under a semi-state of emergency as per the Act on Special Measures for Pandemic Influenza and New Infectious Diseases Preparedness and Response (hereinafter Act on Special Measures).

Regarding the state of infections in the prefecture, infections of the Omicron variant deemed to be caused by community transmission have been confirmed, and the number of newly reported infections (per 100,000) for the week until 1/6/2022 was 23.5 for the entire prefecture. This means we have reached our warning level of 10-15 infections per 100,000 in a very short amount of time.

Information regarding our medical care systems is as follows: as of 1/6/2022, the system is not under heavy strain with the rate of hospital bed usage being 24.7% and the rate of hospital bed usage for severe cases being 2.2%.

However, based on (1) the new Omicron variant’s rapidly becoming mainstream, (2) the fact that the impact that New Year travel and socialization will have on infection is yet to be seen, and (3) the opinions of experts, we deem that the prefecture is at Level 2 (strengthened precautions).

Looking at analyses of cases from 12/22/2021 to 1/4/2022, it is clear that:

  • Infections are spreading mainly in the southwest of the prefecture from Aki County to Otake City.
  • Over half of those infected have been vaccinated.
  • Of those infected, those in their 30s and younger make up 70%, and those in their teens and younger make up 25% of the total number.
  • Of the estimated routes of infection, 48% are dining establishments, 30% are within the same household, and 15% are medical or elderly care facilities.

Experts believe that:

  • Taking into consideration the speed of Omicron variant transmission and the high percentage of infections occurring while dining, it is necessary to immediately implement strong measures, including restrictions on activities.
  • In order to also prevent large-scale cluster outbreaks at schools or places of employment, we must ensure thorough adherence to basic infection prevention measures. In addition, we must also raise the level of risk awareness in prefectural citizens through measures such as dining in small numbers only, taking time off (even if you only feel a little under the weather), and proactively getting tested and seeing doctors.
  • From the standpoint of preventing severe cases as well, it is imperative that we continue to encourage vaccination for those who have yet to do so, in addition to steadily carrying out the third booster vaccination for the elderly and others as much ahead of schedule as possible.
  • With regard to our medical care systems, in anticipation for a rapid increase in patients, we will further promote recovery at home, as well as prevent the development of severe cases by increasing the number of hospital beds and proactively providing hospital treatment. In the face of an increasing number of patients with mild cases, we must also create a system where medical treatment is widely accessible through ensuring outpatients can receive treatment at a vast number of medical facilities, including designated medical facilities. 

Taking all of this into account, together with promoting vaccination, we continue to formally request that prefectural residents and businesses strictly adhere to basic infection prevention measures, as well as demonstrate understanding and cooperation with semi-state of emergency measures in order to keep the spread of infection and the number of severe cases and deaths to the absolute minimum, as well as to ensure that we get our numbers below the warning level as quickly as possible, and that they stably remain there.

Period of Intensive Infection Prevention Measures (Extended)

  • January 7-March 6, 2022
  • Semi-state of emergency period: January 9-March 6, 2022

Note: Should the infection situation show no signs of improvement moving forward, we will take even stronger measures such as requesting the implementation of State of Emergency measures. However, should the situation show signs of improvement, we will gradually relax our official requests (activity restrictions) and partially lift Intensive Prevention Measures Priority Areas.

Intensive Prevention Measures Priority Areas

Hiroshima City, Kure City, Takehara City, Mihara City, Onomichi City, Fukuyama City, Otake City, Higashi-Hiroshima City, Hatsukaichi City, Etajima City, Fuchu Town, Kaita Town, Saka Town

[Update] as of 1/14/2022, all cities and towns in Hiroshima Prefecture are considered Intensive Prevention Measures Priority Areas.

Formal Request to All Citizens and Businesses in Hiroshima Prefecture

Reduce person-to-person contact

Reduce outings

  • Reduce all outings and time spent out, including necessary everyday errands and shopping.
  • When outings are necessary, always wear a mask and, as much as possible, keep the number of people you go out with as small as possible, even for family members. Remember to avoid contact with others as much as possible, such as by avoiding crowded places and times, and keep a distance of at least one meter, or two if possible.

Examples of necessary outings: visits to medical facilities, shopping trips for medicine, necessary work/school commutes, exercise/walks outside in your neighborhood.

Commutes to work

  • Reduce person-to-person contact during work commutes through promoting walking/cycling to work, staggered working hours, etc.

Eating at dining establishments and infection prevention measures at said establishments

  • Avoid going to dining establishments with anyone other than those you live with. However, this does not apply if using dining establishments with physical infection prevention measures in place (see bullet point below), nor does it apply to eating at home or outside (such as at campgrounds) with infection-via-droplets prevention measures in place (acrylic panels and placing guests one or more meters apart, or dining with masks on as much as possible) with proper hand sanitation measures and ventilation.
  • When going to dining establishments, choose Hiroshima Active Guard Gold partner establishments (including Hiroshima Active Guard Partners and COVID-19 Infection Prevention Measures Partners for the time being) that have implemented proper physical infection prevention measures such as acrylic panels. Be sure to also make use of the Hiroshima COVID-19 QR Code and cooperate with infection prevention measures in place at dining establishments.
  • Do not engage in activities with high risk of infection such as drinking in groups on the street or in parks.
  • Regarding the kinds of establishments where cluster outbreaks have occurred in the past (places with karaoke, exercise facilities such as sports clubs, and similar): in addition to avoiding crowding with other users, ensuring ventilation, and strictly adhering to infection prevention measures, should infection occur and it is not possible to determine who may have been infected, facilities should announce the name of the place where the infection occurred and call on its users to be tested and seek medical treatment in the interest of preventing the further spread of COVID-19.

Going to dining establishments in Intensive Prevention Measures Priority Areas

  • Avoid dining as a group of five or more people at the same table.
  • Use good judgment: do not go to dining establishments outside of their formally requested hours of operation.
  • Do not go to dining establishments that do not cooperate with the formal request for shortened hours of operation.

Avoid travel to other regions

  • Do not travel to prefectures and regions under State of Emergency/Semi-Emergency measures as much as possible. We also ask that you seriously reconsider travel plans to/from areas where prefectural governments have called for avoiding unnecessary outings or areas where the level of infections and strain on the medical system is equivalent to Level 2 (strengthened precautions).
  • If you absolutely cannot avoid travel, in addition to being thorough about infection prevention measures, get tested for COVID-19 before you leave or when you arrive. 
  • If meeting with visitors from those regions, take the risks into consideration and act accordingly. For businesses, consider changing when you take business trips or making use of online meetings instead.
  • Regarding travel within the prefecture, avoid travel to areas listed as Intensive Prevention Measures Priority Areas.
  • Note that this restriction does not apply to school/work commutes or visits to medical facilities.

Continuation of essential duties (those that ensure stable citizen life/the economy)

As we are currently at Level 2, businesses that are essential for stable citizen life and the economy, as well as those who support these businesses, should continue to operate according to the characteristics of their business while taking the necessary infection prevention measures.

Criteria for holding events (for the entire prefecture)

Having been given a grace period until January 10, we formally request that all events to be held beginning January 11 follow the criteria listed in Article 24, Paragraph 9 of the Act on Special Measures, as is specified in Criteria for Holding Events in Hiroshima Prefecture (effective as of January 11, 2022).

Other measures

Early detection and quarantine

In order to find new infections in the early stages and offer appropriate medical care at hospitals or quarantine hotels, we will implement the following:

  • Comprehensive epidemiological surveys and intensive PCR testing
  • Secure systems for medical care and quarantine

Cluster response measures

We will conduct the following measures to detect new patients who have the potential to cause clusters faster and end cluster outbreaks faster:

  • Conduct regular PCR testing for workers at medical facilities and elderly care facilities.
  • Early facility intervention and facility infection management guidance by our Medical and Welfare Cluster Response Team.

Formal requests to universities and schools

Kindergartens, elementary schools, junior high schools, high schools

  • Implement measures based on the Hygiene Management Manual for COVID-19 in Schools.
  • In particular, avoid contact between students during high-risk activities (group work, cooking classes, contact sports or exercise, etc) and take steps to maintain a set distance between students when doing these activities.
  • Regarding school events: carefully consider whether or not to hold activities that take place outside of the school, such as class trips, depending on the infection situation of the location. In addition, carefully consider whether or not to carry out high-risk activities (provision of food/drink, contact sports, etc) at school festivals and sports events based on the infection situation.
  • Thoroughly implement the practice of eating lunch in silence and instruct students to avoid eating/drinking when on the way to/from school.
  • When students living in dorms return home, reduce risk by keeping travel to a minimum.
  • All afterschool clubs at high schools must implement infection prevention measures as much as possible, and thoroughly consider the risks of holding high-risk activities during clubs where sports/exercise is performed in crowded groups or where there is close contact, or clubs where participants face each other and cheer/chant.
  • Be sure to respond to the situation locally and at school, such as being prepared to offer online classes when implementing staggered school hours or temporary closures.
  • Note that the Prefectural Board of Education will offer support to elementary and junior high schools in holding classes online when implementing staggered school hours or temporary closures.

Universities, higher education specialty schools

  • Regarding classes, ensure thorough adherence to infection prevention measures, such as frequent ventilation and sanitization, limiting the number of students in class, ensuring space between seats, and making use of online classes.
  • Regarding off-site practicals, in addition to the practical site’s strict adherence to infection prevention measures, have students proactively get PCR tests in advance, and ensure thorough adherence to infection prevention measures for two weeks leading up to the practical and during the practical.
  • Thoroughly carry out infection prevention measures during group activities (e.g., dormitory life, clubs, extracurricular activities, camps).

Vaccination

In order to put an end to COVID-19 infections, we will continue to provide information about t about vaccines, such as their effectiveness and safety, in order to have as many people get vaccinated as soon as possible.

Additionally, in order to maintain the effectiveness of vaccines, we must work with cities and towns within Hiroshima Prefecture, as well as local doctors’ associations to promote booster vaccinations. As the prefectural government, we must support the establishment of large-scale vaccinations sites and workplace vaccinations in order to support securing a vaccination system for our cities and towns.

Formal Requests to Residents and Businesses in Intensive Prevention Measures Priority Areas

In order to stop the spread of COVID-19 in local areas and stop infections from spreading to the entirety of the prefecture, the following areas have been deemed Intensive Prevention Measures Priority Areas where the Governor can request formal cooperation with measures, based on Article 31, Paragraph 6 of the Special Measures:

Hiroshima City, Kure City, Takehara City, Mihara City, Onomichi City, Fukuyama City, Otake City, Higashi-Hiroshima City, Hatsukaichi City, Etajima City, Fuchu Town, Kaita Town, Saka Town

Reduce person-to-person contact

Reduce all outings and time spent out in half, including necessary everyday errands and shopping. Further reduce outings after 8 pm. Note that this restriction does not apply to school commutes or visits to medical facilities.

Examples of necessary outings: visits to medical facilities, shopping trips for medicine, necessary work/school commutes, exercise/walks outside in your neighborhood.

Commutes to work

  • Reduce person-to-person contact during work commutes through promoting walking/cycling to work, staggered working hours, etc.
  • For those working in places which cannot make use of measures such as work from home, aim to reduce the number of people in the workplace through measures such as spreading people out in other locations, etc.
  • As we have formally requested that residents further reduce outings after 8 pm, curb working hours after 8 pm unless absolutely necessary for the business.

     

 

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