The creator of the Covid-19 vaccine said: “We cannot vaccinate the planet every six months.
A local governor in Japan has criticized the US military for failing to prevent the spread of the coronavirus in Okinawa Prefecture, the southernmost province of the country, home to several US bases.
“I am outraged that the increase in the number of infected US service members shows that their management is not enough,” Denny Tamaki, governor of Okinawa Prefecture, said at a news conference on Sunday.
Okinawa Prefecture reported 130 new Covid-19 cases on Monday — the highest total number of cases in a single day since September 25 last year, a prefecture official told CNN.
In the past week, the province averaged 17.37 new infections per 100,000 people, the worst rate in the country. The official said these numbers do not include infections among US service members in Okinawa.
Okinawa Prefecture confirmed its first case of the Omicron variant on December 17, 2021, and began free PCR testing for facility staff and prefectural citizens shortly after, the official said.
As of January 3, 88 cases of the Omicron variant have been confirmed, and 112 suspected cases have been reported, the official said.
A total of 3,699 US service members in Okinawa have tested positive for coronavirus as of Monday, according to Okinawa government data. US forces confirmed a record 235 new infections last Friday among personnel stationed in Okinawa Prefecture, according to local government data.
Of those tested in Okinawa, about 47% are believed to be positive for Omicron, US Forces Japan (USFJ) told CNN in an email.
The National Institute of Infectious Diseases in Tokyo conducted a genomic analysis of Covid-19 cases among US service members at Okinawa’s Camp Hansen and confirmed that the Omicron variant was found there, according to an statement by the Okinawa prefectural government on Sunday.
However, the Okinawa prefectural government insists that US authorities have not provided information about the exact number of Omicron infections.
Tamaki blamed US military personnel for spreading the Omicron variant to local communities, and extended his call on Sunday for US military authorities to enact measures. strictly to prevent this virus.
“Many infected people are still confirmed every day in the US military. We believe it is important to prevent infection among the US military and for citizens in the prefecture to avoid contact with them to limit the spread of the disease in the prefecture,” said Tamaki, Governor of Okinawa. in the press conference.
For its part, the USFJ said it was working to contain the outbreak.
“We take our responsibility very seriously to protect not only our employees but also the surrounding communities,” the USFJ said. “We have placed all employees with COVID-19 on quarantine, and active contact tracing has allowed us to put close contacts into quarantine.”
In response to the increased spread of Covid-19 in Okinawa, the Japanese Marines re-established the duty to wear masks for everyone at the facility regardless of immunization status on May 23. twelfth, according to a post on the Marine Corps Community Service website.
However, this rule does not apply to people who eat or exercise actively, including indoor cardio, athletics, and organized sports.
The USFJ said it requires three negative Covid-19 tests for people traveling to Japan and “restrictions on movement” for 14 days upon arrival.
Last year, two US Marine Corps bases in Okinawa – including Camp Hansen – were locked down and imposed restrictions on other bases in the area, according to Kyodo News.
The USFJ said it will continue to monitor and adjust Covid-19 mitigation measures with the cooperation of the Japanese government.