Children masked against the coronavirus make their way along a street in Fussa, Japan, on Jan. 5, 2020.

Children masked against the coronavirus make their way along a street in Fussa, Japan, on Jan. 5, 2020. (Theron Godbold/Stars and Stripes)

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TOKYO – A record-breaking coronavirus surge continued Thursday in Tokyo, which reported more than 2,000 new cases in one day for the first time.

The Tokyo Metropolitan Government reported 2,447 newly infected individuals, according to public broadcaster NHK. Nearly 69,000 people in the city have contracted the virus during the pandemic, and more than 650 have died, according to metro government data.

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga on Thursday evening declared a state of emergency in Tokyo and the three surrounding prefectures that comprise the greater metro area: Kanagawa, Saitama and Chiba. The declaration would allow governors in those areas to ask businesses to limit their hours and encourage their employees to telework, among other measures.

U.S. military bases in Japan reported 20 new coronavirus patients as of 6 p.m. Thursday; U.S. Forces Korea reported 29 individuals had tested positive since Dec. 22, including four civilians this week at Yongsan Garrison.

Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, 500 miles west of Tokyo, reported another 11 individuals had contracted the virus, according to a Facebook post Thursday. Ten were close contacts of a previously infected person and were already in quarantine; the remaining individual was not in quarantine.

The air station has reported 28 new cases of coronavirus thus far in January.

Naval Air Facility Atsugi, 25 miles southwest of Tokyo, on Thursday reported one individual tested positive while in quarantine, base spokesman Sam Samuelson said.

The Marine Corps late Wednesday reported four individuals had tested positive at its bases on Okinawa: three at Camp Hansen and one at Camp Foster, according to a Facebook post by Marine Corps Installations Pacific. Thursday, the Marines reported another four: two more at Camp Hansen and two at Marine Corps Air Station Futenma.

The Marines also reported Wednesday that two second-grade classrooms at Bechtel Elementary School, a Defense Department school at Camp McTureous, were closed Thursday after someone associated with the school had tested positive for the coronavirus.

U.S. Forces Korea reported four individuals already in the country tested positive on Tuesday and Wednesday. Another 25 individuals tested positive after arriving in South Korea between Dec. 22 and Wednesday.

A Defense Department civilian employee at Yongsan Garrison in Seoul tested positive Tuesday after developing symptoms of COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the coronavirus, according to a new release Wednesday. The individual last visited Yongsan on Dec. 30 and self-quarantined at his home in Seongnam.

Three more civilians, a family at Yongsan that had contact with that individual, also tested positive on Wednesday, according to a USFK news release. They are two DOD employees and their dependent; they last visited the installation on Tuesday.

All four are now quarantined at Camp Humphreys, according to USFK.

All of the remaining 25 are new arrivals to the peninsula and tested positive while still in isolation, according to a USFK news release Thursday.

Fifteen service members and four dependents arrived at Osan Air Base on the Patriot Express, a government-chartered passenger air service from the U.S., on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday.

Six service members arrived on commercial flights to Incheon International Airport on Dec. 22, Saturday, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday.

Nineteen tested positive on their first mandatory test upon arriving in South Korea; five tested positive while in quarantine; one tested positive on the test required to exit quarantine, according to USFK. Twitter: @JosephDitzler

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Joseph Ditzler is a Marine Corps veteran and the Pacific editor for Stars and Stripes. He’s a native of Pennsylvania and has written for newspapers and websites in Alaska, California, Florida, New Mexico, Oregon and Pennsylvania. He studied journalism at Penn State and international relations at the University of Oklahoma.

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