Tokyo logs 2,001 new coronavirus cases as US military in Japan reports 76
By STARS AND STRIPES Published: January 14, 2021
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TOKYO — Japan’s capital city reported more than 2,000 new coronavirus patients Friday as a third wave that prompted an emergency declaration over much of the country until Feb. 7 continued unabated.
The Tokyo Metropolitan Government confirmed 2,001 newly infected people, the fourth one-day total above 2,000 this month, according to metro government data and public broadcaster NHK. The city pandemic record is 2,447 new cases on Jan. 7.
U.S. military bases in Japan reported 76 new infections as of 6 p.m. Friday, including 39 at Yokosuka Naval Base, 35 miles south of Tokyo and the homeport of the U.S. 7th Fleet, from coronavirus tests since Tuesday.
‘Limited movement’ in South Korea
In South Korea, the largest U.S. military base, Camp Humphreys, and the Army post in Seoul, Yongsan Garrison, were on a virtual lockdown Friday as public health authorities traced infections that bloomed at Yongsan.
Everyone at Yongsan in the heart of the capital and at Camp Humphreys 55 miles to the south was told to limit their movements “to mission critical-duties only until further notice,” according to social media posts Friday morning.
“If you don’t have to be here, do not be here,” said Humphreys commander Col. Mike Tremblay in a Facebook Live video Thursday evening. “We’re going to go to ground; we’re going to figure this out.”
Tremblay said the “limited movement” order, stemming from a “very complex” case of contact tracing, would last minimum 72 hours during another video posted Friday.
Late Thursday, U.S. Forces Korea in a Facebook post reported five individuals at Yongsan with the virus, on top of seven it confirmed earlier in the day. The second group included someone that split time between Yongsan and Humphreys.
USFK has reported 19 new infections at Yongsan between Jan. 5 and Thursday. It provided no further information about the five late Thursday. Of the remaining 14, four are Defense Department employees, six are contractors, two are spouses, one is a dependent and one is a South Korean taxi driver.
Only “mission critical” personnel, including those at operations centers and mission critical base services, and life, health and safety personnel were to report Friday at Humphreys, according to a Facebook post by USFK. Monday is a federal holiday.
The main exchange and base commissary were open with reduced capacity; base gyms were at reduced capacity; the Child Development Center was closed. A shopette and mini-mall were open.
Restaurants on the post were limited to takeout orders only.
At Yongsan, a smaller post, many services remained available, including the Child Development Center, pool, gym and commissary, where patrons were limited to 25 at a time, said post commander Col. Ellis Baker on a Facebook Live video Friday.
Seventy-six new cases in Japan
In Japan, Yokosuka reported 15 of its new patients tested positive after showing symptoms of COVID-19, the coronavirus respiratory disease. Twelve tested positive during contact tracing; seven were recent arrivals to Japan; one was discovered during medical screening; three base employees tested positive after falling ill and one was discovered during contact tracing, according to a Facebook post.
The base has 158 patients under observation.
Yokota Air Base, headquarters in western Tokyo of U.S. Forces Japan, reported 11 individuals tested positive between Tuesday and Friday: five were already quarantined as close contacts of a previous case; the remaining six were not quarantined when they tested positive, according to a Facebook post. Yokota has 30 active cases.
Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, 500 miles west of Tokyo, on Friday reported 11 people came up positive in a test required of anyone exiting quarantine, according to a Facebook post. Those patients were already isolated as close contacts.
Naval Air Facility Atsugi reported four new cases Friday, base spokesman Sam Samuelson told Stars and Stripes by phone. Three tested positive on the mandatory test before exiting quarantine; one was a close contact, he said.
Misawa Air Base in northeastern Japan reported two individuals tested positive, according to a base news release Friday. Both tested positive in quarantine, where they’d been since Jan. 3 as close contacts. The base has eight patients.
The Marine Corps reported six newly infected people at four bases on Okinawa: three at Marine Corps Air Station Futenma and one each at Camps Schwab, Foster and Hansen, according to a Facebook post.
Kadena Air Base, Okinawa, on Thursday evening reported three individuals tested positive for COVID-19. One patient had become ill and self-isolated; the remaining two were already isolated as close contacts, according to a Facebook post.