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US military adds 19 new cases to its coronavirus totals in Japan

A sign posted outside the food court at Yokota Air Base in western Tokyo reminds patrons that masks are required inside the facility, Oct. 1, 2020.

AARON KIDD/STARS AND STRIPES

By JOSEPH DITZLER AND AYA ICHIHASHI | STARS AND STRIPES Published: December 4, 2020

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TOKYO — U.S. military bases in Japan as of 6 p.m. Friday had added another 19 cases to the week’s coronavirus total, including a dozen new infections at the home of U.S. Forces Japan.

Yokota Air Base in western Tokyo said 12 people tested positive between Tuesday and Thursday, according to a Facebook post Friday. There are now 23 active cases on the installation, which is home to USFJ, 5th Air Force and the 374th Airlift Wing.

Four of those patients were tested at Haneda and Narita international airports near Tokyo after arriving from the United States. They were in quarantine on base when the results arrived, according to the base.

Another four were in quarantine as close contacts of an infected individual when they tested positive, the base said.

The remaining four apparently acquired the infection locally; the base said only that they “were identified and quarantined by Public Health according to strict Centers for Disease Control guidance.”

Yokota has reported 86 coronavirus cases since June, not counting an undisclosed number of Navy personnel and their support staff who caught the virus while sequestered at the base in May.

Sixty-two of Yokota’s cases popped up in November, the result of the virus spreading from a small gathering.

Metropolitan Tokyo is experiencing a record-breaking coronavirus surge, topping 400 new cases daily 10 times since Nov. 16. On four days since Nov. 27, the city has counted 500 or more new infections.

Yokosuka Naval Base, homeport of the 7th Fleet south of Tokyo, reported six new coronavirus cases since Tuesday that emanated from a variety of sources.

Two of those patients recently arrived in Japan, according to a base news release. One person tested positive after developing symptoms of COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the coronavirus. A fourth and fifth were identified by contact tracing and testing.

The sixth patient is a base employee who also fell ill and tested positive at a Japanese medical facility, the release states.

Yokosuka on Tuesday had 29 active cases, according to a USFJ update on its website.

Sasebo Naval Base on Japan’s Kyushu island recorded one new case Friday, according to a base Facebook post. That person has been isolated since recently arriving in Japan. Sasebo has two active cases.

On Okinawa, the prefectural government reported another 20 coronavirus infections on U.S. bases Friday, a public health official told Stars and Stripes by phone.

The U.S. Army reported three new cases at Torii Station, the official said, and the remainder belonged to the Marines: four at Camp Hansen, two at Marine Corps Air Station Futenma, two at Camp Schwab and nine at Camp Foster.

Marine Corps Installations Pacific did not respond to an email query after close of business Friday. The Marines stopped publicly reporting their cases, with one exception, in early November.

ditzler.joseph@stripes.com
Twitter: @JosephDitzler

ichihashi.aya@stripes.com
Twitter: @AyaIchihashi