Today, Kanagawa Prefecture was designated for stricter semi-emergency measures to prevent infection, and the City of Yokohama was identified as a region where the measures will go into effect.
A fourth wave of coronavirus (COVID-19) infections is surging in many regions across the country.
The number of new cases is rising rapidly, especially in Osaka and the Kansai region, but also in Tokyo. The proportion of cases from variant strains, said to be more infectious than the base virus, is growing, necessitating preventive measures.
In Yokohama, 422 new cases were identified last week, a 117% increase over the previous week.
This is also higher than cases in March, and there is a possibility that numbers will continue to surge. Because about 430 thousand Yokohama residents commute to Tokyo’s 23 wards for work or school, I believe expanding the semi-emergency measures to Yokohama is an unfortunate but sensible measure.
In accordance with the decision, Yokohama will implement policies based on those of the national and prefectural governments:
●Starting April 20 (Tuesday) public facilities will generally close by 8:00 p.m.
●Attendees to city-organized events will be capped at a maximum of 5,000.
●If an infection is identified at a facility or store/shop, the Yokohama Active Epidemiological Investigation Team (Y-AEIT) will continue actively provide guidance and testing to help prevent the spread of infection through rapid onsite investigations.
In anticipation of a sudden surge of infections, Yokohama has placed special focus on expanding the number of available hospital beds. The city has also taken steps to enhance the Y-CERT and public health center systems.
With the cooperation of local medical institutions, the city has secured 554 beds for treating COVID-19 cases, nearly twice as many as the number of patients hospitalized during the peak of infections during the third wave of the virus. In addition, 198 beds are available for patients who may be infected, with a further 173 for patients recovering from symptoms, for a total of 925 beds at 64 local health care facilities. As it has up to now, the city is ensuring both infectious disease treatment and everyday medical care are being steadily provided.
To maintain stability in the medical care system, Yokohama will assign beds flexibly in response to the state of the spread of infection.
Vaccinations at long term care facilities, which started on April 12, are progressing smoothly. The city is preparing to establish and run the system to allow residents make appointments to get vaccinated.
Since April, the city has added 112 personnel to enhance the functionality of public health centers and provide vaccinations and other medical services. With this significantly strengthened system, the city will continue to commit all efforts to COVID-19 response.
To all city departments:
In order for the semi-emergency measures to function effectively in preventing the spread of infection, cooperation from residents and businesses is essential. With a long holiday on the horizon, we must ensure everyone is informed about these measures without fail to contain the spread of infection.
In addition, please establish a system at each Ward Administration Office or Bureau that can respond flexibly to changes in the infection situation even during the long holiday.
I request to all residents:
●I ask that everyone please remain vigilant and observe basic preventive measures to curb the spread of infections.
●Although we will soon have a long holiday, please refrain from going out for non-essential reasons, even during the day.
●Day or night, please wear masks when drinking or dining.
●Avoid the “five situations” that present an increased risk of infection, and try to implement remote work, flexible working hours, and other methods to help stop the spread.
I also call upon our local businesses:
●Please cooperate with the request to shorten business hours to 8:00 p.m., observe restrictions on events, and operate in line with other national and prefectural government policies.
●Please refer to industry guidelines and ensure preventive measures are thoroughly implemented.
●Aim for a 70% reduction of staff in offices to prevent excess contact with others at work or while commuting by implementing remote work, flexible working hours, staggered commuting and lunch breaks, and other measures.
●Please request that all customers wear masks.
●Please refrain from running karaoke equipment at drinking and dining establishments.
I wish for all of us together to make it through this so-called fourth wave. There will be a light at the end of this tunnel. I believe that if we all remain vigilant while implementing and observing infection prevention measures, we will reach the end and put this crisis behind us.
The City of Yokohama will commit all its efforts as we work with national and prefectural governments and medical institutions to help stop the spread of infections.