Gov. Tamaki scales back Okinawa Memorial Day service as Covid cases hit 2,307

Gov. Tamaki scales back Okinawa Memorial Day service as Covid cases hit 2,307

Gov. Denny Tamaki calling for stringent Covid prevention measures, at the Okinawa Prefectural Office on May 19.

May 20, 2022 Ryukyu Shimpo

By Shohei Tsukazaki


On May 19, the Okinawa prefectural government’s Covid-19 task force gathered and announced that the Covid alert issued on Okinawa’s main island and Miyako Island will remain in effect through May 26.


Following the task force meeting the same day, Governor Denny Tamaki held a press conference to explain that local schools are straining to provide PCR tests and he is considering distributing antigen test kits, which can swiftly produce results.


The governor also said he will scale back the June 23 Okinawa Memorial Day service for the third year in a row.


Okinawa’s Covid cases at a glance 


Furthermore, the prefectural government announced the same day that 2,307 people ranging in age from under 10 to over 90, have been newly infected with a new strain of the coronavirus.


Governor Tamaki cited the continued rise of Covid cases among children under 10 years old and conveyed his skepticism of the current national countermeasures: “There is evidence that [the current] Covid prevention efforts focused on restaurant [restrictions] are ineffective.”


The governor said hospitalization rates “have remained high since the [May] holidays,” and cautioned against overwhelming the healthcare system.


Tamaki further called for voluntary restraint in visiting hospitals for Covid testing and thorough Covid prevention measures in schools.


As for the Memorial Day service for the war dead, he said, “We are determining the appropriate number of guests for preventing infections.”


The governor did not, however, specify when antigen tests will be rolled out to schools, but only stated that it will happen “as soon as possible.”


Toru Itokazu, the Okinawa Prefectural Government deputy director-general in charge of health and sanitation, spoke on Covid infections in local schools and stated that requests for PCR testing at schools surpassed 100 per day. The requests come from other schools, students, and daycare centers, and Itokazu asserts that the Covid-19 virus is carried into schools by those who have been infected at home.


(English translation by T&CT and Monica Shingaki)



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