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News First Infection Of Novel Coronavirus In Okinawa

NAHA -- The first case of the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) has appeared in Okinawa.

On February 14, 2020, Okinawa Prefecture confirmed that a female taxi driver in her late 60s living in the prefecture was infected. This is the first confirmation of the virus appearing in Okinawa.

The taxi driver guided passengers who had disembarked the Diamond Princess—the cruise ship that has 174 known cases to date—when it was in port in Naha City.

According to the taxi company in which she works, she guided four Chinese passengers farther south.

On the same day, another one of the taxis in the company's fleet also carried Chinese passengers from the terminal. However, there are no other known infections at this time.

Editorial note: The first appearance of this article stated April 2019 as the month and year of infection. The case was confirmed on February 14, 2020.

February 19, 2020 @ 1826 -- Second confirmed case of COVID-19 in Okinawa; male taxi driver in his 60s. Had no contact with first infected, but did have passengers on board from the Diamond Princess when it docked in Naha City. DISCUSS →

February 16, 2020 @ 0900 -- Other taxi drivers and citizens that are concerned about whether they may be infected and asymptomatic shows the poor state that Japan and Okinawa are in as only the Prefectural Institute of Public Health and Environment in Okinawa can carry out such tests for COVID-19 at a rate of 9 per day, which is roughly the same as other prefectures. DISCUSS →

February 15, 2020 @ 2220 -- Government of Japan to accelerate testing and treatment measures amid a potential "domestic epidemic" as COVID-19 has reportedly spread to 11 of the 47 prefectures in Japan, to include Okinawa, with the Minister of Health, Labor and Welfare stating that outbreaks are inevitable in the future. DISCUSS →

February 15, 2020 @ 0700 -- As discussed by Governor Tamaki, 15 non-stop flights between Okinawa and 5 Chinese cities per week have been canceled as well as 50 of 87 flights between Naha International Airport and Shanghai. Additionally, the ports closed off to cruise ships meant to also dock in Naha, Okinawa; Nakagusuku, Okinawa; Ishigaki Island, Okinawa; and Miyako Island, Okinawa. This is all in an effort to contain the spread of COVID-19 in Okinawa. DISCUSS →

February 14, 2020 @ 1918 -- Seven elderly welfare centers will be closed for up to two weeks amid the news of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) appearing in Naha City in order to prevent the transmission among the people more likely to be affected.

February 14, 2020 @ 1811 -- Governor of Okinawa, Denny Tamaki, reports that the taxi driver is in stable condition and they are conducting health and wellness observations on potential contacts that the taxi driver may have had after becoming physically ill on February 5, 2020.

February 14, 2020 @ 1748 -- Naha City Mayor, Mikiko Shiroma, announces a new coronavirus management headquarters. Urges citizens to be careful and not to worry.

Bookmark this page for live updates about the 2019-nCoV coverage in Okinawa and be sure to join the discussion!
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