Eleven new coronavirus infections for US military in Japan
By JOSEPH DITZLER AND AYA ICHIHASHI | STARS AND STRIPES Published: November 17, 2020
Stars and Stripes is making stories on the coronavirus pandemic available free of charge. See other free reports here. Sign up for our daily coronavirus newsletter here. Please support our journalism with a subscription.
TOKYO — The U.S. military in Japan reported 11 new coronavirus cases as of 7 p.m. Tuesday.
The Navy announced two, the Army three and the Air Force six. At least four are recent arrivals to Japan.
One of the Navy’s new patients acquired the infection locally, according to a Facebook post by Yokosuka Naval Base. At least one of the new cases at Yokota Air Base also apparently acquired the virus locally, according to a post by the air base.
Japanese authorities confirmed Monday that a person attached to the Army who arrived two days earlier was infected with the coronavirus, according to a U.S. Army Japan news release.
The service did not elaborate, but Japanese authorities typically test new arrivals at international airports such as Haneda and Narita in the Tokyo area.
That patient did not experience symptoms of COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the virus, and went from restricted movement into quarantine, according to the Army. An unspecified number of contacts are also quarantined, the service said.
Two other individuals with the Army arrived Nov. 3 at Kadena Air Base on Okinawa and tested positive Monday while in restricted movement, according to the Army. They were then moved from restricted movement into quarantine.
The Army last reported a new case on Nov. 9, also a new arrival in Japan.
Yokosuka, headquarters of the 7th Fleet south of Tokyo, said one person tested positive while still in restricted movement after arriving in Japan.
Another person acquired the disease locally and was tested after showing symptoms of COVID-19, according to a Facebook post by the naval base. That person’s contacts are being traced.
Yokosuka last reported four new cases on Friday and now has 15 active infections.
Yokota Air Base, headquarters of U.S. Forces Japan in western Tokyo, reported five new patients Tuesday, all of whom tested positive between Saturday and Monday, according to a Facebook post. Public health authorities were tracing their contacts, said the base, which did not specify how those individuals acquired the virus.
Yokota High School announced on Tuesday that a student’s family member had tested positive, according to a letter from Principal Marian Leverette to families and staff. Contact tracing discovered no cases within the school itself, it said.
“Please know that at this time there are no additional confirmed cases of COVID-19 within our school community,” she wrote.
The high school reported one case at the school in October. The six are the only coronavirus patients currently at Yokota, according to the base.
In Tokyo, the metropolitan government on Tuesday reported another 298 people infected with the virus, according to public broadcaster NHK. The number of seriously ill coronavirus patients, 42, is the highest since the metro area lifted a state of emergency in May, according to NHK.
As of Monday, Tokyo has reported 34,931 coronavirus infections during the pandemic, according to the metro government website. Most, about 32,000, have recovered and 472 have died.
Tokyo is off-limits except for official business to most U.S. military personnel in Japan.
On Okinawa, the southernmost prefecture, the government on Tuesday reported 24 new coronavirus cases on Tuesday, a public health official told Stars and Stripes. The island is home to nearly 30,000 U.S. service members.
The prefecture also reported three new coronavirus cases at Kadena Air Base, which had not confirmed those cases as of 7 p.m. Tuesday. Kadena last reported a new patient on Monday. Including the Monday case, the base has reported 55 cases since July.