• Fukushima Minpo


Fukushima Prefecture has been struggling with the spread of the new coronavirus, having identified in April at least four cases of clusters with five or more infected people in one place, with locations ranging from a post office to a welfare facility.

Ten people who have worked as postal staff including one retiree tested positive at the post office in Nihonmatsu. According to the prefecture, a postal delivery worker in his 40s was the latest person to test positive. He had a fever on April 3 but went to work the following day. Then, on April 6, he experienced a loss of taste and smell, but again reported to work.

He consulted a health center in the city of Fukushima on April 9 after he experienced coughing and shortness of breath, before finally getting medical attention the following day.

In total, 31 people were identified as having been in close contact with those who tested positive at the post office. Local health centers are closely monitoring their health condition and that of their families.

In light of the outbreak, Nihonmatsu Mayor Keiichi Miho urged the prefecture to conduct coronavirus testing on all officials at the post office, but was told that would only be done if they showed symptoms.

The post office in Nihonmatsu closed down on April 7 due to the infections, causing post to remain undelivered. After they reopened on April 22, they had to start delivering about 170,000 letters and parcels that had accumulated during the closure.

The second cluster of infections was found at a factory in the city of Iwaki, while the third cluster occurred at Epoka, a health welfare facility in Motomiya city, with the virus suspected to have spread from people at the Nihonmatsu post office.

A woman in her 60s working at the facility tested positive on April 20. Her husband is a junior high school teacher in the city of Tamura, making him the first public school teacher in the prefecture to have become infected. He developed a fever on April 9 and has since stayed at home.

On April 25, the prefecture announced that a fourth cluster had developed at a sign manufacturing company in the city of Minamisoma. Male workers in their 60s and 20s tested positive after being in close contact with employees who had been infected earlier. Local health centers are looking into how they contracted the disease and their close contacts.

This section features topics and issues covered by the Fukushima Minpo, the largest newspaper in Fukushima Prefecture. The original articles were published on April 12, 21, 24 and 26.

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