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Coronavirus numbers drop for US military in Japan as Tokyo reports spurt of new infections

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By JOSEPH DITZLER AND AYA ICHIHASHI | STARS AND STRIPES Published: September 8, 2020

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TOKYO — The number of new coronavirus cases in Japan’s capital city spiked again Tuesday while the U.S. military tallied four new infections over the long Labor Day weekend.

The Tokyo Metropolitan Government reported 170 new cases on Tuesday, according to public broadcaster NHK. The city reported 77 on Monday, the first time below 100 since Aug. 24.

Tokyo’s new cases fell from 181 on Saturday to 116 on Sunday, according to metro government data.

Over Labor Day weekend, which lasted through Tuesday for most troops in Japan, the U.S. military announced two cases on Okinawa: U.S. Army Japan reported one Monday, and Kadena Air Base reported one Saturday.

Naval Air Facility Atsugi, south of Tokyo, reported two cases on Tuesday.

All four cases involve individuals already in quarantine as new arrivals to Japan. New arrivals must spend a minimum two weeks in quarantine and test free of the virus before exiting isolation.

The U.S. military typically does not identify the infected individuals as service members, Defense Department civilian employees, contractors or family members.

U.S. bases also touted the number of recoveries on their installations. Yokosuka Naval Base reported no new cases over the weekend and 12 recovered since Thursday. The active cases there dropped from 31 on Friday to 19 on Tuesday, according to a post on the base Facebook page.

Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni on Friday reported no active cases at all on base. Sasebo Naval Base declared no active cases on Aug. 27 and has reported no new infections since then.

Okinawa prefecture had nine new cases on Tuesday, according to a prefectural health official. The prefecture reported 39 infections over the long weekend, according to its website.

The rate at which tests come back positive is now 3.7%, down from a high of about 10%, the health official said.

“It’s finally looking like coronavirus in Okinawa is calming down,” he said, “but it’s still too early to say.”

However, the prefecture reported four deaths on Monday and one on Saturday.

A surge in cases on Okinawa began in July and produced new daily highs in infection numbers. At its peak, the prefecture counted 159 cases on Aug. 9.

Okinawa has reported 2,230 cases during the pandemic, the majority, 2,096, since July 8. Of those, 1,747 patients, or 84%, have recovered. Nine are in critical condition, according to the prefectural website.

ditzler.joseph@stripes.com
Twitter: @JosephDitzler

ichihashi.aya@stripes.com
Twitter: @AyaIchihashi