The spread of the novel coronavirus infection shows no signs of stopping in Japan and in the world, and we have experienced through so-called “pandemic” phase.
The state of emergency was lifted throughout the country on May 25. However, we are still at the risk of facing the second and the third waves of the pandemic, and it is essential to take all possible measures for prevention of infection.
We decided to consider the necessary measures on the assumption that the struggle against the novel coronavirus would be a long battle, and to gradually relax the NIG level of activity restriction. In accordance with the cancellation of the state of emergency throughout the country, we hereby lower our restriction level and implement the following actions.
Although the NIG level of activity restriction is lowered, the threat of the novel coronavirus has not gone away. Each member of NIG is aware that the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic may occur again anytime in the future, remains careful and follows NIG’s internal rules for preventing the spread of infection. If the spread of infection is accelerated again, the NIG level of activity restriction will be raised accordingly.
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. Working from home is recommended. Commuters from outside the prefecture should work from home as much as possible. In case of having difficulty in maintaining working from home arrangements, they can opt for staggered commuting to avoid rush hours.
Lectures should be online as a general rule, but small classes can be conducted by face-to-face method. When conducting face-to-face lectures, the rooms with plenty space are used. 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, larger rooms are used to avoid three conditions of “poor ventilation” “intensive crowds” and “close social distance”.
We will make use of online meetings and avoid non-essential business trips and out-of-office work as much as possible. We will especially try to avoid business trips to (and out-of-office work in) areas with many infected people such as Hokkaido and Tokyo metropolitan region. When making necessary business trips and carrying out-of-office work, we will make sure to protect ourselves from being infected. Overseas business trips are permitted 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” issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan. Overseas business trips to the areas other than the above-mentioned should be cancelled or postponed.
We would appreciate your cooperation in reducing as much as possible the number of visitors to NIG, inclusive of those from areas with many infected people such as Hokkaido and Tokyo metropolitan region. 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 such as NIG-JOINT should be carried out with adequate precautions against the spread of infection.
The novel coronavirus enters our body through the mouth, nose or eyes mainly by way of our hands and airborne droplets. This virus is highly transmissible but is readily deactivated by proper handwashing. Wearing face masks is also recommended for both personal protection and to protect others, as an infected individual can spread the virus prior to showing symptoms. We will be conscientious about coughing/sneezing manners and 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.
The novel coronavirus disease is caused by the very infectious virus and has yet to be fully elucidated. It is thus difficult to take measures against it, and even though it seems to stop spreading, there are cases where further outbreaks of cluster infections are discovered, and recovered patients test positive again.
As we still have a long way to go before dispelling the fear of recurrence of the spread of infection, it is necessary to shift into a new lifestyle (work style) which is helpful in preventing the spread of infection. If there are effective measures other than the above, we will go ahead and implement them. For instance, it is important to get enough nutrition and sleep, do moderate exercise, and activate the innate immune system.
We would appreciate your understanding and cooperation in an effort to prevent further spread of SARS-CoV-2. Please act with a sense of crisis for protecting yourself, your beloved family and friends from the risk of infection.
Director-General (Head of the Department of Genetics)
National Institute of Genetics
May 27, 2020