Navy leader in Japan expects more Moderna vaccine to arrive soon after ‘temporary setback’
Stars and Stripes is making stories on the coronavirus pandemic available free of charge. See more staff and wire stories here. Sign up for our daily coronavirus newsletter here. Please support our journalism with a subscription.
TOKYO — The commander of a Navy base near Tokyo said Monday he expects an end to a “temporary setback” and more coronavirus vaccine to arrive soon as infection numbers fall in Japan and South Korea.
Meanwhile, the U.S. military in Japan and South Korea reported nine new coronavirus patients between 6 p.m. Friday and 6 p.m. Monday.
Naval Air Facility Atsugi outside Tokyo had three people come up positive on a test required to exit quarantine, according to a Facebook post Monday. They are the only coronavirus patients on the base.
On Okinawa, five people connected to the Marine Corps have tested positive since Saturday, according to a Facebook post Monday by Marine Corps Installations Pacific. One patient was assigned to Camp Schwab; two each were assigned to camps Hansen and Courtney.
The Marines provided no further information. They reported no new cases in February and made no coronavirus reports at all between Jan. 31 and Feb. 22. The service last reported two new patients on Jan. 31.
Also Monday, the commander of Yokosuka Naval Base, Capt. Rich Jarrett, said in a Facebook video that he expected an “improved outlook” for delivery of more Moderna vaccine.
“Due to weather delays and some logistics factors in the United States, there’s been some slow down in vaccine delivery,” he said, “but this is just a temporary setback and we should see an improved outlook this week.”
People in his command may visit nearby Yokohama and dine there, but are still prohibited from visiting amusement parks, zoos, aquariums and similar attractions and may not ride trains or other forms of mass transit, Jarrett said.
In South Korea, a service member at Camp Humphreys tested positive during a surveillance testing program, according to a U.S. Forces Korea news release.
The number of coronavirus patients reported in the capitals of both countries remained close to recent levels Monday.
The Tokyo Metropolitan Government reported another 121 infections Monday, according to public broadcaster NHK. That number is down from 337 and 329 on Saturday and Sunday, respectively, although Monday counts are typically lower than other days.
Nearly 112,000 people have contracted the virus in Tokyo in the past year, and close to 1,400 have died, according to metro government data. Japan has reported nearly 432,000 coronavirus patients and 7,900 deaths, according to the World Health Organization.
NHK also reported Monday that more than half of Japan’s new coronavirus cases are occurring in Tokyo and the three neighboring prefectures that comprise the greater metro area. Tokyo, Saitama, Kanagawa and Chiba are under a state of emergency through Sunday.
Seoul, capital of South Korea, reported 355 new patients by midnight Sunday, according to the Central Disease Control Headquarters. The one-day count in South Korea has fallen from 621 on Feb. 18.
The country has reported nearly 89,700 patients and more than 1,600 deaths during the pandemic, according to WHO.