Japan finds COVID-19 infections in teachers who took students to Paralympics

A girl runs past Olympic rings and the logo of Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic in Tokyo, Japan, August 16, 2021. REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha

TOKYO – Japan has closed a school in the eastern city of Chiba for the rest of this week, after confirming COVID-19 infections in two teachers who accompanied students to watch the Paralympic Games, a city official said on Monday.

The two were among six teachers of the Kaizuka Junior High School who had tested positive for the disease by Sunday, said the official of the city’s education board, after a trip with 18 students in two buses to last Wednesday’s goalball event.


The Paralympics are set to run from Aug. 24 to Sept. 5, mostly without spectators, since much of Japan, including Chiba and the Games host city of Tokyo, are under a state of emergency, aiming to rein in the disease.

But organizers have invited municipal authorities to have school children attend events, as long as they follow safety measures and receive caregivers’ consent.

One of the school’s teachers reported a fever two days before the trip, followed by several more reporting symptoms, with positive tests from Aug. 26 to Sunday, the official told Reuters.

The school, which had been due to start the fall term on Monday like others run by the city, will be closed at least through this week, the official added.

The city will run PCR tests on about 120 students who were in contact with the infected teachers over the summer holidays, as well as other teachers and staff at the school.

The city said it would continue with the Paralympics visits with appropriate safety measures.


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