Yesterday, the national government announced that priority preventive measures would be enacted in Tokyo and twelve other prefectures, starting on January 21st and lasting until February 13th.
During the sixth wave of the pandemic, the Omicron variant has posed a major threat, and cases are increasing throughout the country at an astounding pace. Although the number of new cases on the first of this month were in the 500 person range, by the twelfth we were seeing over 10,000 cases per day, and one week after that the daily increase is over 40,000. Yokohama has had 3,762 new cases in the past week at the time of this message, 4.6 times the previous week’s numbers.
Based on the adoption of the priority preventive measures, the City of Yokohama has independently decided to take the following measures:
〇 Public facilities will remain open while continuing to follow preventive measures. However, if reservations need to be canceled during the priority preventive measures period, the cancellation fee will be waived.
〇 Events organized by the City of Yokohama will be canceled, postponed, or decreased in scale as necessary, while practicing stringent measures to prevent the spread of the virus.
〇 We will accelerate the schedule for vaccination boosters, starting vaccinations for people 65 and over on January 31st, and for everyone 64 and under in late February.
〇 We ask that people who are able to refrain from using nursery facilities continue to do so, and will refund the costs for the days your child does not use the facility.
〇 As for municipal schools, school trips will be postponed or canceled, the number of days for club activities will be limited, and schools are asked to refrain from participating in games with other schools other than official competitions.
We are now in the midst of the sixth wave. It is important that we remain vigilant to keep the spread in check. I would like to ask for cooperation from local residents in the following:
〇 The Omicron variant is significantly more transmissible than earlier strains. Please refrain from outings to crowded places where risk of transmission is high, and observe basic measures to prevent infection.
〇 Please refrain from visiting restaurants outside of the shortened hours, and refrain from going to restaurants that do not have proper measures in place to prevent infection.
〇 Please refrain from unnecessary travel to other prefectures.
I also ask for cooperation from our local businesses.
〇 Restaurants should follow Kanagawa Prefecture’s guidelines for shortening their hours.
〇 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.
Finally, to all department heads:
〇 In order to prevent infections and clusters in your workplaces, make sure to implement basic preventive measures whether at work or not, and continue to ensure that every employee is informed to avoid actions that increase the risk of infection. Additionally, please implement systems such as telework and flex time to reduce the risk of infection.
〇 In order to avoid an impact on residents’ daily lives, when an employee is confirmed as a close contact and cannot come into the office, follow the Yokohama Business Continuity Plan (BCP) and make adjustments according to the situation in order to enable employees to continue working, reduce their workload, or temporarily stop working. Furthermore, if an essential worker such as a fire fighter or nursery teacher is confirmed as a close contact, it is necessary to utilize antigen testing kits in order to reduce the waiting period and prevent a disruption in the services the City provides to residents.
〇 It is necessary for the entire City government to create an overarching support system in order to flexibly provide support for vaccinations and other work at the Ward Health and Welfare Centers.
Currently, we are at a crucial stage for preventing the virus from spreading even further.
I will focus my efforts and work relentlessly in order to overcome this situation together with the residents and businesses of Yokohama. Thank you for your cooperation.