• Kyodo

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A middle-aged man was arrested Wednesday over a July visit to a hot spring near Tokyo after he left the hospital where he was being treated for COVID-19 and did not disclose his illness to spa operators, police said.

The man in his 40s from the city of Kasukabe in Saitama Prefecture, north of Tokyo, is suspected of obstructing business after the hot spring operator was forced to disinfect the facility in the city of Kawagoe, also in the prefecture.

Local authorities confirmed no one at the spa had close contact with the man, who said he went to the facility to “take a shower,” according to the Saitama Prefectural Government.

The suspect, whose name has been withheld because he was an infectious disease patient, was confirmed to have been infected with the novel coronavirus on July 16 after developing a fever, and was admitted to a hospital in the city of Hanyu for treatment, according to the prefectural government.

Despite having serious symptoms, he broke out of the hospital ward on the night of July 30 and went home by taxi. He then drove his car to the spa and used the facility, the local government said.

A member of his family contacted the police in the early hours of July 31 after being alerted by the hospital that he had gone missing.

Later that day, police officers found the man after spotting his car in the spa’s parking lot. He had also dropped by his office after leaving the hospital.

“My company’s business performance may have gone down if I didn’t work,” he was quoted as telling a prefectural government official.

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