The spread of the novel coronavirus infection is accelerated throughout the country, and the areas with large population such as Tokyo and Kanagawa, which are within a commuting distance of NIG, are in a serious situation. In Shizuoka Prefecture, cluster infections and sporadic infections have occurred, and the prefecture’s alert level was raised to “Level 4” (Require caution within the prefecture / Require caution outside the prefecture). According to this alert, restrictions on travelling across the prefectural borders are as follows: “Avoid travelling to Tokyo” / “Act with particular caution when travelling to prefectures such as Kanagawa, Aichi, etc.” Taking these circumstances into consideration, we hereby re-raise the NIG level of activity restrictions.
The infection situation of the novel coronavirus is unpredictable, and is apt to change dramatically in a short period of time. We will occasionally make a decision based on the latest infection situation, requests from the central government and Shizuoka prefectural government, and the relaxation of restrictions by them. We also keep mindful of infection prevention and try to act for minimizing the risk of being infected.
The operation is carried out by giving the utmost consideration to the prevention of the spread of infection. Meetings should be conducted online as much as possible. Commuters using public transportation opt for staggered commuting hours. As a general rule, commuters using public transportation for many hours and commuters from the municipalities where the spread of infection is observed (due to occurrence of cluster infection, and so on) should work from home.
Lectures should be online as a general rule, but face-to-face classes can be conducted if need arises. When conducting face-to-face lectures, we will conform to the guidelines in “ Conference”. Research guidance and laboratory meetings should be conducted online as much as possible. The use of on-site welfare facilities is permitted. We will make sure to take precautions against infection when using them.
Meetings should be online as a general rule. When having face-to-face meetings through unavoidable circumstances, larger rooms are used to avoid three conditions of “poor ventilation” “intensive crowds” and “close social distance”.
As a general rule, business trips and out-of-office work are prohibited. If it is necessary to make a business trip or to engage in out-of-office work through unavoidable circumstances, we will reduce opportunities for human contact after returning home by way of working from home, etc. When making an overseas business trip from necessity, we may go only to the areas (countries) which meet both following requirements: (1) No immigration restrictions / activity restrictions are placed on visitors from Japan. (2) The areas are categorized as “Level 1” (Exercise caution) based on “Overseas Travel Safety Information (Infectious Disease Level)” issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan.
As a general rule, visitors from areas with many infected people are prohibited. We ask for the utmost cooperation of visitors (including delivery vendors) in preventing the spread of infection by means of wearing masks and disinfecting hands when entering our facilities. Besides, the collaborative research and research meetings with visitors from outside are basically suspended.
The novel coronavirus enters our body through the mouth, nose or eyes mainly by way of our hands (contagious infection). We assume that virus could be present anywhere and practice frequent handwashing. The virus also spreads through airborne droplets by coughing and speaking (droplet infection). One of the characteristics of this virus is that many of the infected people are entirely asymptomatic although contagious, and an infected individual can spread the virus prior to showing symptoms. We make sure to wear masks when contacting other people and when in the common spaces. We try to avoid contact with people by avoiding non-essential outings and keeping a distance as much as possible from the others. We will practice these measures and reduce the risk of the spread of infection.
Among the infected cases of the novel coronavirus, some are observed to have little or no symptoms, which means that there are people who are unaware of their infection. In order to prevent the spread of infectious disease, we should keep the following in mind: “Do not spread the virus to others”, “Try not to be infected with the virus”, and “We may already have been infected with the virus”. Please make sure to take the infection control measures and keep monitoring your health every day. In case you have any concerns about your health condition even just a little, it is necessary to refrain from commuting and observe your health condition for the time being while working from home.
In response to the nationwide spread of infection, the number of the infected is increasing in Shizuoka Prefecture. We will pursue to implement the measures against the spread of infection.
Director-General (Head of the Department of Genetics)
National Institute of Genetics
July 31, 2020