The Ehime Prefectural Government said Thursday that 17 people linked to a hospital in the prefectural capital of Matsuyama had been confirmed as infected with the novel coronavirus.

They include six nurses and care workers at Maki Hospital, in their 30s to 50s, and 11 others including at least one inpatient in their 50s to 90s. The Ehime prefectural government concluded that an infection cluster had developed as a result of in-hospital infections.

The revelation came after a care worker in his 30s and a hospital staffer in her 40s at the hospital were found to have the virus on Wednesday. Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests were subsequently carried out on people who had been in close contact with the two.

The cluster comprises a total of 20 people, including a family member of the care worker. Sixteen of them have shown no symptoms.

Ehime had reported no cases of infection for nine straight days to Tuesday. The total number of cases confirmed in the prefecture now stands at 68.

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