December 30, 2021
80 new COVID-19 cases confirmed on the MCAS Iwakuni yesterday, December 29. This brings the total number of confirmed cases on the air base to 95 this since December 21.
The number of Omicron cases among yesterday’s new cases is still unclear. Also yesterday, two other men (one in their 30s and one in their 40s) were confirmed to have become infected by the Omicron variant, both members of the JMSDF Maritime Self-Defense Force which shares the base. The two men belong to the same unit as another Omicron case announced on December 24.
Five people have so far been confirmed to be infected with the Omicron variant in Yamaguchi Prefecture, four of whom are Japanese men who work at the base.
Tetsuya Morinagza, head of the Public Relations Office of the Maritime Self-Defense Force, said, “There is a possibility that they were infected by the U.S. military because they are on the same premises.
The prefectural government, however, suspects that an Iwakuni person who tested positive for COVID-19, announced on March 28, is infected with the Omicron strain. The infection route in this case is unknown, so it is highly possible that the person was infected elsewhere in the city.
In an attempt to allay concerns among the local population, free PCR testing is available at Iwakuni City Hall, December 30-January 3 (telephone reservations on 0827-24-3571 necessary). 2 experts from the National Institute of Infectious Diseases have also been dispatched to Iwakuni to attempt to trace infections routes.