With the recent tensions regarding the coronavirus, in order to provide the best information and take the best action, we consulted with the regional advisor for Toastmasters International, Gauri Seshadri, and former officer of the National Institute of Infectious Diseases and research member of the Center for Disease Control, Shigetaka Katow.
What we concluded that as for now the contests will go on as planned.
Since there will be regular updates please refer to what the Government of Japan`s Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare has put out (https://www.mhlw.go.jp/stf/seisakunitsuite/bunya/0000164708_00001.html) as well as what the WHO has released（https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019）.
Comment from TI Regional Advisor Gauri Seshadri:
“We have been in constant touch with WHQ and the Board regarding the coronavirus. Addressing Japan in specific, your country has not yet called for an emergency shutdown. I believe operations/business are normal as well. If this changes going forward, then TI may consider granting the special exceptions to D76 too but not at the current moment.”
Comment from Virus Expert Shigetaka Katow:
“While I cannot say for sure how this will end. I feel that one should take the same precautions as you would for the seasonal flu. You should:
1) Wash your hands thoroughly. (If possible place rubbing alcohol at the venue. This virus is particularly susceptible to rubbing alcohol and soap.)
2)If experience coughing wear a mask. Gargling is not effective and I do not recommend it. (It only clears the throat and does nothing for the nasal cavities or lungs.)
Please ensure that the following guidance is sent and understood for all contests.
Please Ensure Cooperation Regarding Infectious Diseases
▸In the case that a large number of people are gathering for an event, please be sure that each and every one follow proper etiquette for coughing and to regularly wash your hands.
▸If you are not feeling well, do not push yourself, instead take it easy.
▸As of Feb. 15th, it is not easy to quickly determine if someone has the coronavirus. However, if does become clear that you or someone in your family does have the illness, please refrain from attending the contest.
▸It is possible that the national or local government will request that large events be postponed or cancelled. The person responsible will need to make to appropriate and inform all concerned parties. In the case of the Division contest that will be the Division Director. In the case the Area contest that will be the Area Director.
▸In any case, it is vitally important that all decisions and actions are made based on reliable and correct information.
Request To All Contestants
To all of you who will be delivering a speech at a speech contest, please take the following precautions:
▸If you are not feeling well during the day of the contest, please to not push yourself to attend and refrain from participating in the contest. I understand that it can be a very hard decision, but in order to prevent the infection from spreading we would appreciate your cooperation.
▸Please consider the following criteria for determine whether or not to attend.
▪Have a fever (37.5 or more) and have respiratory problems (coughing with trouble breathing)
▸Please continue to do your best in managing your health and prevent being infected. Also please prepare to so that you can have the best performance possible.
All said, let’s enjoy and have an exciting contest! Within the limits of commonsense of course.
Matthew D. Ownby District Director
Yusuke Ohashi, Program Quality Director
Yukimasa Matsuda Club Growth Director