US bases on Okinawa locked down over virus surge - RTHK
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US bases on Okinawa locked down over virus surge

2020-07-13 HKT 18:51
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  • Almost a hundred new Covid-19 cases have been reported in the US base, according to Japanese officials. File photo: Reuters
    Almost a hundred new Covid-19 cases have been reported in the US base, according to Japanese officials. File photo: Reuters
Two US Marine bases in Okinawa, Japan, have been put into lockdown after dozens of coronavirus infections, with local officials criticising the American military's containment efforts.

Additional restrictions are also in place at the seven other Marine bases in the region after the spike in cases, a spokesman confirmed.

There are tens of thousands of US servicemen stationed on the southern Japanese island, which has recorded roughly 150 civilian Covid-19 infections.

Government spokesman Yoshihide Suga said on Monday that 63 cases have been detected in recent days among US forces, most of them at US Marine Corps Air Station Futenma and Camp Hansen.

The Okinawa prefectural government said later in the day they confirmed 32 more cases at Futenma, bringing the total to 95. 

In response to the outbreak, "enhanced Okinawa-wide protective measures" were announced for all nine Marine Corps bases in the region, said spokesman Major Ken Kunze.

Those measures include closing non-essential facilities on-base, banning off-base activities and encouraging telework.

There are approximately 20,000 US Marines in Okinawa, along with thousands more troops from other US military services. (AFP)