The national government has decided to extend the state of emergency in effect for Kanagawa and other prefectures from September 13 through September 30.
Based on the extension, Yokohama will continue to direct public facilities to close by 8 p.m., events to end by 9 p.m., and to suspend reservations for use of public facilities for the time being.
Events held or co-organized by the city will also end by 9 p.m. in principle, and their attendance capped at 5,000 people or half the venue capacity.
Yokohama saw an explosive surge of new infections in late July, and reached a record 1,272 new cases on August 16. The situation finally improved, and we saw fewer cases than the previous week as we entered the first week of September, and it is possible that we have passed the peak of infections.
However, we are currently seeing hundreds of new cases per day, and the local number of recovering patients continues to grow. The “Stage 2” target for lifting the state of emergency is still a long way away, and we cannot let down our guard yet. We must accept this extension of the state of emergency based on the situation facing us.
Hospital beds in Yokohama that were secured for patients recovering from COVID-19 surged towards 90% occupancy in late August. While the city has poured all efforts into making more beds available in response, expanding the total to 685 beds as of September 1, the rate of occupancy remains high at nearly 80%.
Regarding vaccinations, 83.8% of elderly residents 65 and older have received the vaccine, which has helped to stop the spread and lower the risk of severe symptoms. Vaccinations for residents 64 and under are currently proceeding in earnest, but as of September 8, only about 1,585,000 residents, 46.4% of that age group, have received both doses.
Yokohama will work to create the conditions for every resident who wishes to receive the vaccine to be able to do so as soon as possible. We will accelerate the vaccine rollout by looking at the current vaccine situation across the city and in each ward, comparing and analyzing the usage of mass and individual vaccinations by type as well as by vaccine supply, and consider various ways to both organize venues to complement a wide range of lifestyles and improve the vaccination rate among young people.
To help end the spread of infections as soon as possible, I ask that all city departments work together.
To all department heads:
○ This infectious disease can be seen as a natural disaster, and we must mobilize all of the City of Yokohama’s resources to protect our residents. Reexamine department projects to improve operational efficiency, and establish systems to coordinate between departments.
○ Many residents feel uneasy while recovering at home. In coordination with the prefectural government, maintain close contact with residents recovering at home to relieve any concerns they may have, and maintain careful medical observation to control the onset of severe symptoms.
○ Make sure to implement basic preventive measures whether at work or not, and that every employee is informed to avoid actions that increase the risk of infection.
I once again call on our residents.
○ Please refrain from outings not essential for daily life, and observe basic measures to prevent infection.
○ When you must go out, please only travel or meet with those in your family or friends with whom you are regularly in contact, and do so in small numbers as much as possible. Please stay away from places where there is a high risk of infection and avoid times when areas are crowded.
○ Please refrain from going to restaurants that do not have measures in place to prevent infection, and do not drink alcoholic beverages outside on the streets.
○ Appointments for individual vaccinations are comparatively easier to make. Please consider making appointments for individual vaccinations first.
I also ask for cooperation from our local businesses.
○ Eating and drinking establishments are asked to suspend alcohol service all day.
○ Please implement measures to reduce contact at work or while commuting, such as remote work, rotating shifts, staggered working hours, separate lunch times, and so on.
This will be the second time the state of emergency has been extended since it was first declared on August 2. I believe many residents must be feeling increased fatigue or stress as the outlook of our situation remains uncertain. Our local businesses running drinking and dining establishments are also facing an extremely challenging situation with the extended request to shorten business hours and the suspension of alcohol service.
I have promised the residents of Yokohama that implementing COVID-19 response is our highest priority.
We will work to swiftly develop further COVID-19 response measures so that we can reach the point where the state of emergency can be lifted as soon as possible. Moreover, we will continue to devote all efforts to protect the lives and livelihoods of residents while also revitalizing our local economy.