Latest coronavirus wave grows higher at US military bases across Japan -- Jan 05

The U.S. military in Japan accounted for another 242 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday as the winter coronavirus surge continues, according to military and Japanese reports.

Marine Corps installations reported the bulk of those increases. The total at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, 25 miles south of Hiroshima, grew to 240 with another 50 counted on Monday and 47 on Tuesday, according to base news releases. That cluster started with eight confirmed cases on Dec. 27.

Combined Arms Training Center Camp Fuji, 65 miles southwest of Tokyo, reported another 31 people with COVID-19 on Monday for 41 total since Dec. 27, according to a base news release Tuesday.

Camp Fuji also raised its health protection level to Bravo, the third command to do so since Camp Hansen, Okinawa, on Dec. 17. The commander of Misawa Air Base in northeastern Japan, Col. Jesse Friedel, raised its level to Bravo on Dec. 29, citing a record number of cases on the installation.

Condition Bravo means an increased risk of the virus spreading. It also entails indoor mask mandates and tighter restrictions on group gatherings, among other restrictions.

The coronavirus wave that began in mid-December is attributed by some commanders to personnel returning from holiday leave or relocating to Japan on new assignments. Contact tracing reveals the virus spreading.