• Reuters


Chiba Prefecture has halted visits by students to watch the Paralympic Games, public broadcaster NHK said Monday, after a school in the prefectural capital confirmed COVID-19 infections in two teachers who had accompanied students to the event.

The school in the city of Chiba was also closed for the rest of this week due to the infections, a city official said Monday. The city had said earlier Monday it would continue with the Paralympic visits with appropriate safety measures despite the cases.

The two were among six teachers of the Kaizuka Junior High School who had tested positive for the disease by Sunday, said an official from the city's education board, after a trip with 18 students using two buses to reach last Wednesday's goalball event.

The Paralympics are set to run from Aug. 24 to Sept. 5, mostly without spectators since much of Japan — including Chiba and the Games host city of Tokyo — are under a state of emergency in order to rein in the disease.

But organizers had allowed municipal authorities to invite schoolchildren to attend events, as long as they followed safety measures and received their caregivers' consent.

One of the school's teachers reported a fever two days before the trip, followed by several more reporting symptoms, with positive tests from Thursday to Sunday, the official said.

The school, which had been due to start the fall term on Monday like others run by the city, will be closed at least through this week, the official added.

The city will run PCR tests on about 120 students who were in contact with the infected teachers over the summer holidays, as well as other teachers and staff at the school.

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