Considering the Spread of COVID-19 at the Destination
In the midst of the anxiety concerning the second wave of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) infection, Fukui Prefectural Governor Tatsuji Sugimoto addressed the topic of having school trips by elementary, junior high, and senior high schools within the prefecture in a prefectural general interpellation, “Rather than cancelling school trips, I would like to endorse having it within the prefecture,” looking for destinations within the prefecture to be added as an option for school trips.
According to the Fukui Prefectural Board of Education, in a regular year, school trips outside the prefecture are carried out during spring or autumn for elementary schools, during May or June for junior high schools, and anytime between June and December for senior high schools. Due to the spread of COVID-19, school trips scheduled during spring of this year have been postponed to take place from autumn.
Prefectural Governor Sugimoto stressed, “The school trip is a major event, leaving students with some of their best memories. I believe that, while protecting the safety of the children, I wish for school trips to go forward and carried out.” Sugimoto continued by stating that the prefectural and every municipal education board, while maintaining clear standards, will create a system where each school can consult with its respective education board, and the “desire to endorse school trips to be held within the prefecture, if the original plan seems impossible (due to the spread of COVID-19 at the destination).”
Meanwhile, regarding a substitute tournament, in response to the suspended prefectural tournaments for junior high school sports clubs, Fukui Prefectural Board of Education Superintendent Kinichi Toyokita responded, “Based on the judgement by each district and municipalities’ sports association and school principals, a course towards an inter-league tournament is under review.” As for track-and-field and swimming, which normally does not hold regional preliminaries, a prefectural tournament is being planned by sports organizations.
JR-West Kanazawa Branch, COVID-19 Countermeasure
On June 17th, the Kanazawa branch of the West Japan Railway Company (JR-West) addressed to news media that trains operating within the Hokuriku area (excluding Shinkansen trains) are undergoing antiviral and antibacterial treatment at the Kanazawa Consolidated Railyard (in Hakusan City, Ishikawa Prefecture), as part of the infection countermeasures against the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) infection and the like.
Of the 431 trains under the branch’s jurisdiction, 222 limited-express trains are expected to complete the treatment process by the end of July; up to now, approximately 25% of the trains have completed the process. After the limited-express trains, the regular trains will undergo the same treatment.
On this day, JR-West employees were performing antiviral and antibacterial operations, including spraying disinfectant on handles, tables, and seats. Parts that are more frequently touched and handled by passengers are sprayed over twice. The antiviral and antibacterial effects will last for 3 to 5 years, and also has deodorizing and mould-preventing properties.
Focus on Outdoor Exhibits, OSK Performance Suspended
On June 16th, Echizen City’s Takefu Kiku-Ningyo Festival Executive Committee (in Fukui Prefecture) announced that this year’s 2020 Takefu Kiku-Ningyo (sponsored by Fukui Shimbun) will be carried out at a reduced scale. As a preventative measure against the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) infection, the indoor events, which carry the risk of the “Three Cs” (Closed spaces, Crowded places, and Close-contact settings), will not take place, and there will be a focus on the outdoor flower exhibitions. The executive office of the Echizen City Prosperity Creation Department stated, “Looking toward the event’s 70th anniversary next year, we wish to provide the local residents an opportunity to gain familiarity with the chrysanthemums.”
The event will take place at the Takefu Central Park, for 31 days from October 9th to November 8th. Chrysanthemums and artwork made with the flowers, arranged and created by various associations and farmers, will be displayed in an outdoor exhibition. Large attractions, such as the Ferris wheel and the Merry-go-round, will only be operated on weekends and holidays. The performances by the popular OSK Nippon Revue has been suspended, but a video message will be posted by the group on their website. “Early Bird Value Tickets”, normally used within the festival as vouchers, will not be sold; business sponsors will also not be sought after.
The following projects are under consideration, depending on how the state of affairs change from hereon: chrysanthemum doll exhibition, local residents’ stage performances, takeout-focused food corner, and a talk show hosted by members of OSK.
All 23 members of the executive committee voted in favour of the resolution.
Woman in her 30s Returning to Kaga City from Tokyo, 300 Total Cases Within the Prefecture
On June 22nd, Ishikawa Prefecture reported one new case of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) infection, after 17 days without a new case. The case is of a Tokyo metropolitan resident, a female company employee (in her 30s), who visited her hometown of Kaga City on the 20th; upon arriving, the woman experienced a fever, and visited a hospital for a medical examination. An antigen test showed positive for COVID-19.
The total number of COVID-19 cases within Ishikawa Prefecture has risen to 300.
Number of Tourists from Outside the Prefecture Increased from 20% to 60%
On June 20th, Japan entered its first weekend after the domestic travel restrictions, placed by the Japan government, requesting self-restraint, was lifted; travellers have begun returning to tourist spots within Fukui Prefecture, raising anticipation for the return of crowds.
At Rainbow Line Summit Park, which spans across Mihama and Wakasa towns, and completed its renovations during the spring, has around 180,000 visitors in a year, approximately 70% of which are from outside the prefecture. During the past few days, the number of visitors from outside the prefecture went no higher than around 20%; however, on the 20th, that number increase to around 60%. License plates from the Kansai and Chukyo regions were conspicuous in the parking areas, which became fully occupied by 11 of the late morning.
“When the domestic travel restrictions were lifted, Fukui was the first to come to mind, which is why we came here. It feel refreshing, for the children as well, to go sightseeing outside our prefecture after such a long time,” said a family of tourists from Shiga Prefecture.