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Record number of U.S. service members in Okinawa test positive for COVID-19

Ryukyu Shimpo and Okinawa Times took up the disclosure by the Okinawa prefectural government that a record number of 72 U.S. service members—52 on Camp Hansen, 20 on MCAS Futenma—tested positive for the novel coronavirus yesterday. Since all of them had recently arrived in Okinawa from overseas and tested positive just before their two-week quarantine was about to expire, they have not been in “close contact” with the local population. The U.S. military has reportedly insisted that the finding should not be regarded as a “cluster infection.”

 

Some local public healthcare professionals regarded this development as evidence of the success of the U.S. military’s border control measures for infection prevention. However, they added that Okinawa is still susceptible to the possibility of the virus being introduced by the U.S. military and by people from the Japanese mainland. Japanese base workers are reportedly alarmed by the rapid spread of the virus among U.S. personnel, calling for U.S. military authorities to disclose more information so that they can take precautionary steps.

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