• Kyodo, Staff Report


As Japan grapples with the expanding new coronavirus outbreak, six more people — five in Tokyo and another in Aichi Prefecture — tested positive Sunday for the deadly virus, local authorities said.

During a news conference held Sunday evening, officials at the Tokyo Metropolitan Government said that two of the five were male acquaintances of a Tokyo taxi driver who tested positive Thursday after attending a party held Jan. 18 aboard a traditional yakatabune (traditional roofed party boat).

The third person was a male doctor who had contact with a female medical worker at the same hospital. She attended the same party as the taxi drivers and has tested positive, the government officials said.

The remaining two cases were one man in his 30s and the other in his 60s, the officials said, adding that their infection routes were not immediately clear.

Meanwhile, the Aichi Prefectural Government separately announced that a male resident in his 60s who lives in the prefecture has tested positive for the virus.

The man is an acquaintance of the wife of a Nagoya couple who tested positive Saturday after visiting Hawaii. He visited a doctor after developing fever of 38 degrees on Saturday, Aichi officials said. He has not visited China during the past two weeks.

On Sunday, the central government rushed to devise steps to deal with the expanding outbreak. Infectious disease experts and officials in a government task force discussed measures at the Prime Minister’s Office.

Takaji Wakita, head of the National Institute of Infectious Diseases who chairs the task force, said the present situation can be called the “early stage” of an outbreak in Japan, adding, “More has yet to come.”

Then he urged the public to stay vigilant against cold-like symptoms such as fever and tiredness. He also recommended that people avoid commuting during the rush hour in a bid to keep the virus at bay, adding that teleworking is desirable.

Wakita also urged people not to hold gatherings unless something is urgent.

The government plans to set up consultation centers around the country where members of the public can go to get information and advice.

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