As of today, March 21, the national government has lifted the quasi-emergency measures in place for Kanagawa Prefecture. Accordingly, the waiving of fees for cancelling public facility reservations, asking schools to refrain from overnight school trips or trips outside the prefecture, and other measures Yokohama had implemented during this period will be ended. City-organized events will be held with rules in place on the maximum number of attendees. In addition, fees for days children did not go to nurseries will be refunded through the end of this month.
It has been two months since the quasi-emergency measures were put in place. As infections spread at an unprecedented pace due to the Omicron variant, city residents, businesses, and health care workers came together to enact and observe preventive measures. I offer my heartfelt gratitude to all the residents and businesses for their cooperation with helping to curb the spread of infections, as well as to those health care workers on the medical front lines.
Yokohama saw the spread of infections pass the previous peak in February. While the number of new cases in the city is slowly trending downward, hospital bed occupancy passed 50% in mid-March. Additionally, hospital beds at “Yokohama Hajime Hospital,” a specialized facility for COVID-19 patients, have reached nearly 70% occupancy, so we must remain vigilant. There are also concerns a renewed spread of infections from the BA.2 Omicron variant, which is regarded as highly infectious.
In anticipation of a rapid spread of infections similar to the sixth wave, Yokohama has taken comprehensive steps to raise vaccination rates, open a hospital dedicated to COVID-19 care and expand the number of hospital beds, and establish a new monitor and support system for patients recovering at home.
Regarding COVID-19 booster shots, we have made concerted efforts to move up the timeframe for vaccinations significantly, introduce vaccinations that do not require a voucher, launch venues operating late at night and early in the morning, and extend the hours at venues, so that all willing residents can get vaccinated even a little bit sooner. We will continue to accelerate the vaccine rollout by moving up the distribution of vouchers.
With the quasi-priority measures lifted, we will begin to pursue full-fledged economic recovery. Despite the soaring costs of crude oil during this tense international crisis, it is extremely important that we take this opportunity under relaxed measures to stimulate the economy.
We will continue to work closely with businesses that have experienced hardships due to the protracted COVID-19 pandemic through the restaurant receipts program, small business emergency support subsidy, and other essential measures. We will closely follow the ongoing infection situation and look to restart the “Find Your YOKOHAMA” campaign and revitalize Yokohama’s bustling local economy at the appropriate time.
I call on all city departments:
It is critical that we both avoid a major rebound of infections and restart the economy as soon as possible. Please show leadership by working to accurately identify the needs of residents and businesses, and implement necessarily measures swiftly.
Some personnel are under tremendous strain from the COVID response lasting so long. As we approach the time of personnel transfer, I ask that each member of this headquarters gives steady support to their department’s personnel so that “Team Yokohama” remains at full strength without disruptions.
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.
I ask residents for their cooperation with preventive measures:
Once again, please continue to observe basic measures to prevent infection, such as disinfecting your hands and wearing masks.
The season for welcoming celebrations, send-off parties, and cherry blossom viewing is upon us. Please keep groups small, meals short, and voices low, and maintain a safe distance from other visitors.
I also ask for cooperation from our local businesses:
Please follow the guidelines for each industry.
Please continue to cooperate with the request help reduce contact at work or while communing by implementing remote work, rotating shifts, staggered work hours, and so on.
The fight against COVID-19, and now, the situation enveloping the world, are both constantly changing. I believe Yokohama must have two things: “consumer focus” and “urgency.” We must be sensitive to the needs of our communities and respond to them as swiftly as possible. Yokohama will continue to dedicate its full efforts for the satisfaction of all residents.