National

Infected man in Japan who wanted to 'spread virus' dies

Kyodo

A man infected with the novel coronavirus who went to a Filipino pub earlier this month saying he wanted to “spread the virus” died Wednesday at a hospital in central Japan, investigative sources said.

After testing positive with the pneumonia-causing virus on March 4, the 57-year-old man from Gamagori, Aichi Prefecture, went to the pub in the city that evening despite a request by health officials that he stay home. Local authorities said they did not have the power to prohibit him from going out.

Police launched an investigation into the man, whose identity has not been released, last Friday after a woman in her 30s working at the pub tested positive for the virus that causes COVID-19. The woman’s nationality has not been disclosed.

The police had planned to question him on suspicion of obstruction of business after he left the hospital, to which he was admitted March 5.

The man stayed at the pub for about 40 minutes after spending 15 minutes at an izakaya bar, according to Gamagori municipal officials.

At the Filipino pub, the man sang karaoke and put his arm around a female employee who was serving him, a source said.

Although the female employee tested negative for the virus, another female worker developed a fever March 8 and later tested positive, Toyota municipal officials said last Thursday. The woman lives with her family in the city.

Both the izakaya and the Filipino pub temporarily suspended business from March 4, with the pub manager filing a damage report to authorities last Friday.

The man had tested positive for the virus a day after his parents, with whom he lived, were found to be infected. He had serious pre-existing conditions, sources close to the matter said.

Before going out by taxi March 4, the man told his parents he wanted to “spread the virus,” according to the Gamagori officials.

Aichi Prefecture has the second-highest number of domestic COVID-19 infections at about 120, after Hokkaido, where some 150 cases have been confirmed.

Japan has so far found 13 clusters of people infected with the virus, according to the health ministry, including one at a day-care center for the elderly in Aichi.

In a separate incident, police Monday arrested a man in Kiryu, Gunma Prefecture, on suspicion of obstructing business after he told passengers on a train he was infected with coronavirus, causing the operator to suspend the line for around one hour.

The 54-year-old man, Kiyoshi Kogure, was confirmed not to have been infected with the virus and was drunk at the time of the incident, according to the police.

Last Friday, a 44-year-old man in Shimane Prefecture was arrested after he pretended to have contracted the novel coronavirus and also threatened to spread it at a local train station.

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