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US military reports a handful of new coronavirus infections in Japan

Tourists wear masks as they cross a bridge near Enoshima, Japan, Friday, Oct. 30, 2020.

AKIFUMI ISHIKAWA/STARS AND STRIPES

By JOSEPH DITZLER | STARS AND STRIPES Published: November 3, 2020

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TOKYO — The U.S. military in Japan reported three new coronavirus cases as of 5 p.m. Monday: two close contacts and a returning traveler, according to Facebook posts.

Yokosuka Naval Base, the U.S. 7th Fleet’s home south of Tokyo, has two new cases, both individuals who were apparently infected by another with whom they had contact, according to a Facebook post by the base Tuesday.

The naval base, which confirmed four new infections Monday, also announced Tuesday that a base employee recovered from the virus, leaving the number of active cases there at 11.

On Okinawa, Kadena Air Base reported a new coronavirus case Monday evening, an individual who tested positive while still in quarantine after returning from travel outside of Japan.

U.S. Forces Japan requires anyone in quarantine to test free of the virus before exiting isolation. New arrivals to Japan with the U.S. military and returning travelers, as well as close contacts, are required to isolate themselves.

In the Kadena case, public health authorities found no close contacts, according to a base Facebook post.

Kadena last reported a new coronavirus case Oct. 21, when it announced that a food-service worker at the enlisted club restaurant had tested positive as a result of being in contact with an infected family member.

The U.S. military does not always specify whether its new coronavirus patients are service members, civilian employees, contractors or family members.

Okinawa, where the bulk of U.S. troops are stationed, on Tuesday reported 19 new cases of coronavirus for a pandemic total of 3,392, according to the Ryukyu Broadcasting Corp. on Twitter and the prefecture website.

The prefecture also reported three new infections Tuesday at the Marine Corps’ Camp Schwab, according to the prefecture website. Marine Corps Installations Pacific did not respond Tuesday to a query about the report.

Japan on Monday reported 663 new cases for a pandemic total of 101,813 and 1,774 deaths, according to the World Health Organization.

Tokyo, the capital city, reported 209 new patients on Tuesday, for a pandemic total of 31,502 and 459 deaths, according to public broadcaster NHK and data from the Tokyo Metropolitan Government.

On Monday, the Asuka II left the port of Yokohama, south of Tokyo, on a four-day round trip to Shizuoka prefecture, the first cruise ship to operate from Yokohama in eight months, according to NHK.

Japan ceased cruise line operations in February when the coronavirus outbreak appeared in the country. An early high-profile outbreak occurred aboard the liner Diamond Princess, docked at Yokohama on Feb. 1 after stops in Hong Kong, Vietnam, Taiwan and Okinawa with 2,666 passengers and 1,045 crew aboard, according to the Japan Institute for Infectious Diseases website.

Authorities quarantined everyone on the ship for better than two weeks. By Feb. 17, more than 500 people on the liner had tested positive for the virus.

ditzler.joseph@stripes.com
Twitter: @JosephDitzler