Three Japanese evacuated from Wuhan test positive for virus

TOKYO (AFP) – Three Japanese evacuated from the epicentre of a deadly new coronavirus outbreak have tested positive for the illness, the government said yesterday, as it faced criticism for the country’s minimal quarantine measures.

The new cases were announced as another evacuation flight from Wuhan landed in Tokyo, and the government confirmed a second case of apparent person-to-person transmission of the virus in Japan.

More than 400 people have now been repatriated from Wuhan, the centre of the outbreak that has killed 170 people and infected thousands.

But while returnees praised the government’s effort to bring them home quickly, there has been criticism of Japan’s decision to allow the arrivals to “self-quarantine”, with two people on the first flight even refusing to be tested for the virus.

Health Minister Katsunobu Kato said yesterday there were now 11 confirmed cases in Japan. “In addition to the eight (previously known) cases, among the people who returned from Wuhan yesterday, infection has been confirmed in one person with symptoms and two other people who have no symptoms,” he told Parliament.

On Wednesday, authorities reported a second case involving someone who had not recently travelled to China.