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U.S. military in Okinawa reports single-day record 72 new COVID-19 cases

The number of new COVID-19 cases involving U.S. military personnel in Okinawa Prefecture hit a record on Monday, with the marines reporting 72 infections amid a nationwide surge in cases of the deadly virus in Japan.

The U.S. Marine Corps Installations Pacific said in a statement that 52 cases were identified at Camp Hansen near the town of Kin and 20 at Marine Corps Air Station Futenma in the city of Ginowan. It said the 72 cases were personnel who had traveled from the U.S. and that all were under quarantine after being tested upon arrival.

“There is no risk to the off-base community or to the larger military and civilian populations” at the two bases, the marines said in the statement.

The marines said there were no indications that those infected had spread the disease to the larger population surrounding the bases.

“Our existing COVID-19 measures have been effective at preventing community spread of the virus, and they appear to have done so in these cases, as well,” the statement said. “We continuously evaluate our procedures to ensure they are effective and relevant in the ever-changing situation.”

The marines also said they were in “constant contact” with the Japanese central government and the Okinawa Prefectural Government.

U.S. Forces in Japan remain under what the military calls a “public health emergency,” which gives commanders the authority to enforce compliance with health protection measures for anyone with access to U.S. facilities.

The American military in Okinawa saw a spate of COVID-19 cases over the summer as the country grappled with the pandemic’s second wave. On Monday, Okinawa separately reported 32 new cases, bringing the prefectural total to 4,326.

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