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HOME  > Past issues  > 2021 December 15 - 21  >  COVID-19 cluster erupts at USMC Camp Hansen in Okinawa
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2021 December 15 - 21 [US FORCES]

COVID-19 cluster erupts at USMC Camp Hansen in Okinawa

December 18, 2021
Okinawa Governor Tamaki Denny on December 17 at a press conference in the prefectural office building announced that the prefectural government on the day received from the U.S. Marine Corps in Okinawa a report that a cluster of 70 COVID-19 cases erupted at Camp Hansen. The number of COVID-19 cases detected at the base totaled 99.

In addition, it also came to light on the day that a Japanese employee working at the base was confirmed to be infected with the omicron variant.

The prefectural government requested the U.S. forces via relevant Japanese authorities, such as the Foreign Ministry, to provide a genome analysis of all samples. However, the U.S. forces replied that it will send the samples to the United States for a genome analysis, if necessary, as Camp Hansen has no genomic testing capacity.

The Japanese government in response to the worldwide spread of the omicron variant bans foreigners from entering Japan at this time in principle. However, U.S. military personnel assigned to Japan are excluded from this entry ban based on the Japan-U.S. Status of Forces Agreement.

The 70 U.S. Marines arrived at the U.S. Kadena Air Base and were transferred to Camp Hansen. It is obvious that they did not receive quarantine instructions from Japanese authorities upon their arrival.

The U.S. military claims that the 70 infected Marines were isolated and well managed. However, it provides no detailed information about whether they had contact with local people and their movement was not monitored.

Past related article:
> Japan’s omicron-related ban on entry excludes US military personnel [December 1 & 2, 2021]
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