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A project team at the National Governors’ Association identified Monday a need to prepare a system allowing external personnel to be sent to medical institutions and welfare facilities across the nation, as part of measures against clusters of novel coronavirus infections.

In a report on such clusters, compiled via a videoconference the same day, the team stressed the need for central and local governments to foster leaders that can deal with infectious diseases at medical institutions and welfare facilities.

The team also suggested creating a system to dispatch outside personnel to such facilities in the event that workers at the facilities are infected with the virus.

The report noted that the number of novel coronavirus patients in a prefecture largely depends on whether or not the prefecture has experienced clusters of cases.

As of mid-June, a total of 238 clusters had been confirmed.

The report said that the clusters were mainly due to workers continuing to work at medical institutions despite feeling unwell, manpower shortages or people not wearing face masks at restaurants.

Underscoring the importance of preventing and swiftly handling infection clusters, the report emphasized that medical institutions and welfare facilities need to train leaders and create a system to accept support workers from outside of their organizations.

The report also pointed to a need for the names of restaurants where clusters have been detected to be revealed.

Regarding novel coronavirus measures in general, the report said that public health centers must boost their functions, including by incorporating more information and communication technology in their operations and increasing their numbers of employees.

To promote such efforts, the central government needs to offer financial support, the report said.

The report also urged the central and local governments to work on increasing the number of polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests.

In addition, it asked that the nation revise the special measures law for tackling the virus and the infectious disease law.

“We’d like to encourage the central government to take the measures included (in the report),” said Shinji Hirai, governor of Tottori Prefecture and the head of the team, at a news conference after the meeting.

The team will continue to monitor the prevalence of infection clusters and assess the effectiveness of its guidelines to prevent further infections.

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