• Jiji


Economic revitalization minister Yasutoshi Nishimura has tested negative for the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19, after a member of the Cabinet Office staff was found to be infected late last week.

Nishimura, who is overseeing the government’s economic response to the epidemic, was found not to be infected after he took a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test, the Cabinet Office said Sunday. He had not shown any COVID-19 symptoms.

The infected staff member, who is on the Cabinet Office’s COVID-19 response team, accompanied the minister on an inspection visit on April 19. The staff member was confirmed to have the virus on Friday.

Nishimura canceled all public duties, such as news conferences, on Saturday to go into seclusion.

“I checked with a public health center, and they said I was not in close contact (with the infected staff),” he said during a video appearance on a program shown by national broadcaster NHK on Saturday night. “But I am working from home, just in case, so that I don’t spread the infection.”

“We need to exercise utmost caution, recognizing that we all bear the risk of being infected and at the same time the risk of infecting others,” Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said the same day.

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