Pivotal point in fight against corona virus says Hiroshima governor

The governor of Hiroshima Prefecture, Yuzaki Hidehiko, delivered an emergency message this morning concerning the fight against corona virus.

Pointing to a graph showing the increase in the number of cases of corona virus around the country, the governor repeatedly stated that Hiroshima seemed have managed to keep the spread of the disease under control, thanks to early detection and rigorous following up of contact histories. In answer to a question later however, he stated that the infection route was unknown in half of the cases in Hiroshima Prefecture.

In the same way as the current situation (15 cases in Hiroshima Prefecture at the time of his speech) is a reflection of actions taken a week or more ago, he stressed that the coming week could be a “turning point” in the fight against the virus in Hiroshima. Governor Yuzaki made it clear that the prefectural government believes that the direction in which things may turn is largely in the hands of the people of Hiroshima.

If you test positive, cooperate

Somewhat surprisingly perhaps, governor Yuzaki led with a call for cooperation from those unfortunate enough to test positive in providing details and information about their movements in the days before being tested. In a follow up question, he suggested that, rather than people outright refusing, many patients show signs of reluctance when asked (perhaps worried about corona-hara or corona virus corona virus harassement).

He stressed the importance of such information in tracing routes of infection and tracking down other people possibly infected, and that such resistance could slow down the follow up process, which could have serious consequences should there be a sudden increase in cases.

To make his point, pulled put a little signboard saying

anata no sekkyokuteki ekigaku chosa

no kyo roku ga

shui no kata no inochi o tasukeru

koto ni narimasu

“Your enthusiastic cooperation with the your epidemiological survey saves lives”

Avoid the 3mitsu [3蜜] A.K.A. the “3 Cs”

  • Closed spaces
  • Crowded spaces
  • Close-contact settings

We are not sure the reporters got the message…

Resist the call of the night

Yuzaki made sure to urge citizens to avoid nightspots which meet the “3 Cs”, especially places where there are lots of people you don’t know. Addressing the concerns of businesses involved in the night economy, he said various financial support measures are being put in place and advised business owners to seek advice at the Prefectural Office or Hiroshima Chamber of Commerce.

On travel

Mentioning that all 4 new cases discovered over the past weekend were among people who had made recent trips to large cities, the governor urged people not to travel to large cities, Tokyo, Kanagawa, Osaka and Fukuoka in particular, unless absolutely necessary.

Early April is a time when many people relocate, either taking up new jobs or after being transferred. Yukichi asked people moving to Hiroshima to monitor their health carefully and make sure to stay home if they develop a fever, cough or other symptoms associated with corona virus.

He also reiterated that those returning from overseas should quarantine themselves at home or in their hotel for 14 days.

And what about the schools

On the day when many schools restarted after being closed for over a month and the rest due to follow in the next 2 days, the governor said that while the health of our children is paramount, we also have a duty to ensure that their studies are not impeded. After much consultation and expert advice the governor said that, under current circumstances, it was not necessary to extend the suspension of schooling. In the event of a spike in cases, the policy would be reviewed and he added that it was the duty of us adults to make sure that we do our best to make sure that scenario doesn’t arise.

Hiroshima lockdown?

While a lockdown is highly unlikely, should the number of cases continue to increase, the governor said that he may urge people to stay home during the coming weekend. He also said that declared a state of emergency was conceivable should the situation deteriorate.

Worth the risk?

Governor Yuzaki spoke very calmly and looked like a man in control, sure of what he was saying. His demeanor soothed the worries of some on social media, but there will be many who believe he is taking a big gamble in a high stakes game.

By his own admission in the question and answer session, we could take all the measures he is urging and there still be an explosion of cases such as we are seeing in Tokyo. If, as he says, we have to do what we can to avoid that scenario and we are at a “turning point”, why send the kids back to school and why not urge businesses to send their employees home, at least for a week or two?


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Paul Walsh

Paul arrived in Hiroshima "for a few months" back in 1996. He is the co-founder of GetHiroshima.com and loves running in the mountains.