Support our mission
Members of the 18th Medical Group test for coronavirus at Kadena Air Base, Okinawa, March 20, 2020.

Members of the 18th Medical Group test for coronavirus at Kadena Air Base, Okinawa, March 20, 2020. (Mandy Foster/U.S. Air Force)

Stars and Stripes is making stories on the coronavirus pandemic available free of charge. See other free reports here. Sign up for our daily coronavirus newsletter here. Please support our journalism with a subscription.

CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa — A family member visiting an Okinawa-based airman who tested positive for coronavirus over the weekend also has the disease, the Air Force announced Tuesday.

The family member’s movements have been restricted since medical personnel began tracing his contacts, 18th Wing officials at Kadena Air Base said in a message posted to Facebook on Tuesday.

“He has been in restriction of movement during the entire period of contact tracing and has not come in contact with any members in the local community,” the message said. “The 18th Wing leadership and medical teams are tracking this situation very closely and are ensuring those affected receive the best possible care.”

The 18th Wing did not immediately respond to questions asking when the family member’s movements were restricted or why he was visiting during the coronavirus pandemic.

However, in response to a comment on the Facebook post, base officials said medical teams examine a subject’s contacts going back 48 hours prior to the development of symptoms, per Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines.

“In this case, this person had been under [restriction of movement] well outside of the 48-hour window prior to onset of symptoms,” officials wrote. “Bottom line: This person had no contact with the community inside or outside of Kadena Air Base.”

The World Health Organization has said the incubation period for the virus appears to be between one and 14 days.

Officials previously stated that the 18th Wing airman had recently returned from Europe and that the person’s movements were restricted for 15 days afterwards. Symptoms developed while the airman was in restriction.

Since that news broke Saturday afternoon, a second airman assigned to Kadena Air Base has tested positive. Base missions and services were reduced Monday and Tuesday as a result.

“Our collective ability to prevent further exposure is of the utmost importance right now,” the Facebook message said. “We all must remain vigilant by following restriction of movement procedures, abiding by the current liberty policy, and observing good personal hygiene.”

burke.matt@stripes.com Twitter: @MatthewMBurke1

author picture
Matthew M. Burke has been reporting from Okinawa for Stars and Stripes since 2014. The Massachusetts native and UMass Amherst alumnus previously covered Sasebo Naval Base and Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan, for the newspaper. His work has also appeared in the Boston Globe, Cape Cod Times and other publications.
twitter Email

Stripes in 7



around the web


Sign Up for Daily Headlines

Sign-up to receive a daily email of today’s top military news stories from Stars and Stripes and top news outlets from around the world.

Sign up