United States bases in Okinawa on lockdown with 61 virus cases confirmed

US Japan Share Information About COVID-19 Surge at US Bases in OkinawaSonata

Dozens of United States troops at two bases on the Japanese island of Okinawa have been confirmed infected with the coronavirus.

The disclosure of the exact figures came only after Okinawa's repeated requests to the us military.

That brings the number of cases among people connected to the U.S. military to 98.

In total, 62 new cases have been confirmed on three USA bases over the period from 7 to 12 July: 39 people have been infected at Marine Corps Air Station Futenma, 22 - in Camp Hansen, and one person has contracted coronavirus in Camp Kinser, according to Okinawa Prefecture.

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Okinawa Gov. Denny Tamaki said he could say only that a "few dozen" cases had been found recently because the USA military requested the figure not be released to the public, The Associated Press reported.

61 Marines have been infected with the virus in recent days, according to the Guardian newspaper, spread across two bases in the archipelago - which has always been a USA military stronghold in the eastern Pacific.

The Marine Corps Installations Pacific also issued a message on Facebook about the increased cases and said the new measures will be revisited and reviewed every three days. Another 23 occurred at Camp Hansen, a base that is home to around 6,000 US Marines.

Late on Saturday governor Denny Tamaki spoke on the phone to Lt Gen H Stacy Clardy, commander of III Marine Expeditionary Force, and insisted the U.S. increases its disease prevention measures to maximum levels, stops sending personnel to Okinawa and seals the bases.

"Okinawans are shocked by what we were told", he added.

He also criticized the USA military, saying he held grave doubts over whether it took adequate measures to prevent a further spread of the coronavirus. He is the first American-Asian to take a seat in the Japanese House of Representatives.

Okinawan officials made similar requests to the US military on Friday in order to address local residents' concerns, Tamaki said.

Previously, the US Marine Corps had vaguely referred to two "localised clusters" of infections, without giving a precise number of cases.

All those infected are in isolation, the page added.

Okinawa has had about 150 cases of the coronavirus.

A woman in her 60s residing in the central part of the main island expressed concerns about a spread of infections since many USA service members walk around outside bases without wearing face masks.

News of the outbreak among Marines comes as back home the USA battles record or near-record numbers of new cases of the virus virtually every day and remains the pandemic's global center. To date, four USA bases in Japan have reported COVID-19 cases.

Okinawa's connection to the U.S. military stems from the 1945 Allied invasion of the area in the final months of the Second World War. Many Okinawans have long complained about pollution, noise and crime related to USA bases.



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