Coronavirus wave still breaking at key US naval base south of Tokyo
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TOKYO – The largest Navy base in Japan announced Tuesday that another 32 people have become infected with the coronavirus since Friday, adding to the installation’s worst outbreak since the pandemic began.
Yokosuka Naval Base, homeport for the U.S. 7th Fleet, so far in this month has reported 269 infections, nearly twice the numbers in December, the next highest month, when it announced 144 cases.
In Tokyo, 35 miles to the north, the city reported 1,026 people tested positive for the virus Tuesday, according to public broadcaster NHK. Tokyo and the surrounding three prefectures are under a state of emergency until Feb. 7. The government encourages teleworking and businesses to close between 8 p.m. and 5 a.m.
The number of new cases daily in Tokyo has trended downward since Thursday and dipped below 1,000 Monday for the first time since Jan. 12, according to metro government data. Nearly 800 people have died in the city during the pandemic, as of Monday.
At Yokosuka, 11 of the individuals tested since Friday had shown symptoms of COVID-19, the coronavirus respiratory disease; another 16 were discovered during contact tracing. Two were recent arrivals to Japan, two tested positive during medical screening and one is a base employee who also became ill, according to the base.
Naval Hospital Yokosuka is monitoring 150 patients, the base said.
One person at Kadena Air Base on Okinawa tested positive in quarantine after returning from travel outside of Japan, according to a Monday evening base Facebook post. Public health authorities identified and placed several close contacts into quarantine.
Kadena Middle School told all seventh-grade students and staff to stay home Tuesday after someone there tested positive, Principal Mynda Massey-Vukovic wrote in a message to families and staff Monday evening. The base did not connect the two reports.
The same school closed Dec. 18, a day ahead of the scheduled winter break, to permit contact tracing after someone at the school tested positive for the virus.