Close contact of Tokyo omicron patient also infected with variant

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Airport quarantine officials interview international arrivals at Narita Airport in Chiba Prefecture on Nov. 27.

A man who had close contact with an omicron patient has also tested positive for the coronavirus variant, the Tokyo metropolitan government announced Friday.

The man, who is in his 20s, watched a soccer match in Kawasaki on Sunday, so the metropolitan government and other organizations are urging about 80 people who were seated near him to take tests or see a doctor.

According to the metropolitan government, the Tokyo Metropolitan Institute of Public Health identified characteristics of the omicron variant in preliminary tests, and the diagnosis was confirmed on Friday.

The omicron patient the man had spent time with was a woman in her 20s who tested negative for coronavirus when she arrived at Narita Airport from the United States on Dec. 8.

The woman took a taxi to her home in Tokyo after the negative test result at the airport but developed a fever the day after her arrival, and saw a doctor the day after that.

She was confirmed to be infected with coronavirus on Monday.

Preliminary tests indicated she was infected with the omicron variant, and the diagnosis was confirmed on Thursday after genome analysis.

The woman has been in hospital since Monday.

The man spent time with her on Dec. 8 and 9, and developed a fever and cough, among other symptoms, on Dec. 10.

On Sunday, he watched the Emperor’s Cup semifinal at Todoroki Stadium in Kawasaki. He was identified as a close contact of the omicron patient on Monday, and was hospitalized on Wednesday.

According to the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry, the woman and man had received two doses of Moderna Inc.’s COVID-19 vaccine.

The health ministry has identified 26 close contacts who were on the same plane as the woman. Local governments and other entities are monitoring their conditions, the ministry said.

The man’s close contacts include three family members who went to the soccer game with him and seven colleagues, according to the metropolitan government.

According to the Japan Football Association, no capacity caps were in place for the semifinal, which was watched by 17,595 spectators.

The man, who wore a mask during the match, did not appear to have a fever when his temperature was checked at the entrance of the stadium.

The JFA asks spectators to register information such as their names and phone numbers as part of pandemic measures.

Tokyo, Kawasaki and other related local governments are working together with public health centers in areas where the spectators who were seated near the man live, and are urging them to take coronavirus tests if they have any health concerns.

The metropolitan government issued an urgent request Thursday to the central government to make all people entering Japan quarantine at designated facilities until it is confirmed that they are not infected with the omicron variant.

Kansai Airport official infected

An official at a quarantine facility at Kansai Airport in Osaka Prefecture has tested positive for the omicron variant, the health ministry announced Thursday.

The woman, who is in her 30s, was working at a facility that accommodates people who test positive for coronavirus upon arrival in Japan.

It is thought that the woman was infected at the facility.

Three omicron patients were quarantining at the facility, according to the ministry, which is trying to establish the route of infection as the employee had not had direct contact with the patients.

Six officials identified as close contacts have tested negative for the virus.