COVID-19 Information for Kumamoto JETs

This page contains information useful to Kumamoto JETs regarding the 2019 coronavirus disease (新型コロナウイルス感染症, shingata koronauirusu kansenshō) caused by SARS-CoV-2.

This page was last updated on 14 January 2021.

Content:
1. Prefectural Announcements
2. Guidelines for consulting with the Kumamoto Prefecture Consultation Center for COVID-19
3. Spread of COVID-19 - Clusters and the Three Cs (3つの密)
4. New Lifestyle Recommendations (新しい生活様式)
5. COVID-19 Contact Confirming Application (COCOA)
6. External Links

1. Prefectural Announcements

Risk Level:
Kumamoto Prefecture uses a 6-stage "Risk Level" scale in public communications regarding the state of spread of COVID-19 infections in the prefecture, with the Lowest Level being 0 and the highest 5.

The current risk level is set at Level 5, which is the highest level.
Furthermore the Prefectural Government, has declared a State of Emergency lasting from 14 January 2021 to 7 February 2021.

The Prefectural government is asking for all residents to co-operate with the following requests:

 ① Avoid all unnecessary and non-urgent outings, especially after 8pm (effective 14 January 2021 - 7 February 2021) 

② All food and drink establishments in Kumamoto Prefecture will be asked to close after 8pm, and not serve alcoholic beverages after 7pm (effective 18 January - 7 February) 

③ Events, regardless of whether held indoors or outdoors, should be limited to under 5000 people, and the number of participants should be 50% or under the capacity of the venue.

Avoid all unnecessary and non-urgent travel out of the prefecture.

2. Guidelines for consulting with the Kumamoto Prefecture Consultation Center for COVID-19

If you experience any of the following symptoms, do not leave your home to go to work/school, and begin recording your temperature every day.

Phone the Kumamoto Prefecture Consultation Center for COVID-19 at 096-300-5909 (Available 24/7).

The Consultation Center will...

  • Advise you if you are unsure whether you are experiencing symptoms
  • Provide information about COVID-19
  • Connect you to a public health center which can arrange for you to visit a medical center (outpatient clinic) to receive a test for COVID-19

Symptoms:

Elderly people or those with underlying health conditions such as diabetes, heart failure or respiratory diseases (such as Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease), or people taking immunosuppressants or undergoing cancer treatment should contact the center if they have even mild cold-like symptoms.

Anyone other than the people mentioned above should contact the consultation center if they experience persistent cold-like symptoms such as a fever and/or cough.

If your symptoms persist for 4 or more days, please contact the center immediately. Symptoms can vary between people so if you believe you are suffering from strong symptoms, contact the consultation center. This also applies to those who have been taking fever-reducing medication.

Pregnant Women: Pregnant women who experience symptoms should contact their Returnee/Virus Contact Consultation Center as soon as possible.

People who have young children: Children who experience symptoms should see a pediatrician. Please contact the Returnee/ Virus Contact Consultation Center or your child’s usual medical clinic by phone.

【熊本県】 新型コロナウイルス感染症に関する相談窓口について
https://www.pref.kumamoto.jp/common/UploadFileOutput.ashx?c_id=3&id=31292&sub_id=8&flid=234474

【厚生労働省】 新型コロナウイルス感染症についての相談・受診の目
https://www.mhlw.go.jp/content/000628620.pdf

3. Spread of COVID-19 - Clusters and the Three Cs (3つの密)

(The following information is taken from the Akita Wiki here)

The primary method of preventing the spread of COVID-19 in Japan is through the tracking and isolating of confirmed cases and suspect cases. By isolating these individuals, and by confirming the routes of transmission, Japanese authorities attempt to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

  • Confirmed Case: someone who has positive for COVID-19 using a PCR test or an antigen test
  • Suspect Case: someone who has been in close contact (濃厚接触, nōkō sesshoku) with a confirmed case

A cluster refers to a situation where a single SARS-CoV-2 carrier spreads the virus to multiple people in the same setting in a short time span. The concept of clusters was initially brought to public attention when they were formed in live houses, sports clubs and eateries.

The concept of clusters eventually lead to the concept of the Three Cs, (3つの密 or 3密, mittsu no mitsu or sanmitsu in Japanese). Each of the Three Cs describes a situation or condition in which the spread of viruses is more probable. The presence of any one of these Three Cs increases the likelihood of virus transmission. However the probability of virus transmission is at its highest when the conditions of all Three Cs overlap in the same setting; it is these settings which must be avoided if the spread of COVID-19 is to be slowed.

The Three Cs are the following:

1. Closed spaces with poor ventilation (密閉空間; mippei kūkan)

Any place where the air inside stays inside. Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • Apartments
  • Rooms in a house
  • Offices
  • Theaters, clubs, restaurants, etc.

(The adverse effects of these places can be mitigated in part by keeping doors/windows open, running ventilators, etc.)

2. Crowded places with many people nearby (密集場所; misshū basho)

Any place with large numbers of people present. Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • Parks
  • Offices
  • Classrooms
  • Theaters, clubs, restaurants, etc.

(The adverse effects of these places can be mitigated in part by maintaining distance from others, etc.)

3. Close-contact settings such as close-range conversations (密接場面; missetsu bamen)

Any setting which two or more people are actively engaged with each other. Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • Conversations
  • Singing karaoke
  • Meetings
  • Classes
  • Meals (taken by 2 or more people)

(The adverse effects of these settings can be mitigated in part by wearing a facemask, not touching your face, not sharing objects, disinfecting those objects which you must share, etc.)

4. New Lifestyle Recommendations (新しい生活様式)

Despite the decrease in the numbers of new infections, it is still possible for the rate of infection to increase again. To prevent this, the national government is asking people to implement "New Lifestyle" (新しい生活様式, atarashii seikatsu yо̄shiki) measures in their daily lives.

About adapting to a “New Lifestyle” (PDF:83.7 キロバイト)

5. COVID-19 Contact Confirming Application (COCOA) 

The smartphone app developed by the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare to help trace close contacts of people after they are confirmed to be infected has now been released. The app, when enabled, uses a smartphone’s Bluetooth capability to track “close contacts” (濃厚接触者 nо̄kо̄ sesshokusha), defined as being within 1 metre of another person for 15 minutes or longer. 

If a user of the app tests positive for COVID-19, they can voluntarily report it using the application using a special code. The app then sends a notification to all other users detected as “close contacts” from the preceding 2 week period. If you receive a notification saying you were in close contact, you can then report to a local health centre. In order to protect user privacy, specific information such as the location and time of contact will remain confidential. Personal information is not recorded or exchanged. Information is not stored in a central database, only locally on the phone. Records of bluetooth-contact with other devices with the application enabled are automatically deleted after 2 weeks.  

The Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare believes that the application will only be effective if the voluntary uptake in the general population is 60% or higher, and so is encouraging as many people as possible to download the app. You can download the application using the following links:

For iPhone: https://apps.apple.com/jp/app/id1516764458
For Android: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=jp.go.mhlw.covid19radar

You can also search for ”接触確認アプリ” (sesshoku kakunin apuri) on your device.

 The application can be used in English and Japanese. 

Terms and Conditions of Use (English): (https://www.mhlw.go.jp/stf/seisakunitsuite/english_rk_00031.html)

Privacy Policy (English): 
https://www.mhlw.go.jp/stf/seisakunitsuite/english_pp_00032.html

6. External Links

Council of Local Authorities for International Relations (CLAIR) (自治体国際化協会)
CLAIR Multicultural Portal Site (COVID-19) - page with English information about COVID-19

Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Programme
CLAIR News Special Issues with information about coronavirus, uploaded on the JET website (English)
CLAIR News Special Issues (Japanese)

Kumamoto Prefecture
Kumamoto Prefecture Coronavirus Information Portal (Japanese)

Kumamoto Support Center for Foreign Residents - English Information Page

Kumamoto City
Kumamoto City Coronavirus Information Page (Japanese)

Kumamoto City Information on Application for Special Fixed Benefits (Japanese, English)

National Government Ministries:
Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare - English Information Page

Ministry of Foreign Affairs - List of countries which have restrictions on Japanese nationals or people travelling from Japan:

General Information:
WHO Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Dashboard

NHK World News (in English): https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/tags/82/

Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) maintains a page with information targeted towards foreigners travelling in Japan, including a variety of helpful resources as well as a list of temporary attractions closures: https://www.japan.travel/en/news/coronavirus/

JAG Investment Management Co., Ltd. maintains a map of confirmed cases in Japan by prefecture (available in English)

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