The single-day record of 235 COVID-19 infections within U.S. Forces located in Okinawa Prefecture was confirmed Saturday. The local officials reported in response to a cluster infection that broke out in July at one of the U.S. bases in the region.
It is yet to be disclosed if the cases were of the Omicron variant, which is a highly transmissible strain, nor was the extent of the U.S. bases affected. The number of COVID-19-related cases relating to the U.S. military has increased to 3,613.
Japan’s border controls are being scrutinized due to an infection in a group at U.S. Marine Corps’ Camp Hansen in the southern island prefecture. It is home to most of the U.S. military facilities in the country.
Over 250 individuals were confirmed to be affected by coronavirus near its base.
An official from the prefectural office urged U.S. forces to take comprehensive measures to protect themselves from viruses, advising the increase of the number of infections on bases could increase the risk for personnel who are not military who work there.
Friday, the Foreign Ministry said the U.S. forces in Japan now require all their personnel to be tested for COVID-19 within 24 hours following their arrival in Japan.
Amid an accord with Japan and the United States, the responsibility of the quarantine measures for U.S. military personnel on the arrival of military personnel was given to the United States, which means they do not have to adhere to Japanese quarantine regulations at airports.
The Japanese government has stated that the U.S. Defense Department stopped testing its personnel because of advancements in vaccinations within the military and fewer infections.
The forces told that the exemption started in September for the vaccinated staff visiting their bases in Japan via military aircraft. The infection has been identified in the wake of the cluster; they’ve required employees coming into Japan to undergo tests 72 hours before departure.
In the latter part of November, Japan implemented strict border control measures to prevent Omicron variation from entering the country by forbidding the entry of nonresident foreign citizens. The government has also tightened restrictions on quarantine for Japanese citizens and foreign residents who recently traveled to certain regions or countries.
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