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Coronavirus

Bus guide follows driver in contracting coronavirus in Japan

Female attendant led two groups of Wuhan tourists

Chinese tourists board a bus in Tokyo's Akihabara district: Japan has eight confirmed cases of the coronavirus. (Photo by Arisa Moriyama)

TOKYO -- A day after a Japanese bus driver was diagnosed with the new Chinese coronavirus after carrying tourists from Wuhan, the epicenter of the outbreak, a female tour guide on the same bus was confirmed to have the illness Wednesday.

It marks the second case of a patient in Japan with no recent travel to the Chinese city.

The woman in her 40s, a foreign national who lives in Osaka Prefecture, worked alongside the bus driver reported Tuesday to have contracted the virus, Japan's health ministry said. Japan now has eight confirmed cases overall, according to the ministry.

The woman was on buses carrying tourists from Wuhan from Jan. 12 to Jan. 17, and again from Jan. 17 to Jan. 22, according to officials.

After developing a fever, she saw a doctor at a Tokyo area hospital during the latter tour. Still feeling unwell, the woman asked another guide to replace her and returned to her Osaka area home by bullet train and subway.

The woman wore a mask throughout the trip, and there is "an extremely low possibility" of exposure to fellow passengers, an Osaka Prefecture health official said.

The guide is said to be recovering in a Osaka area hospital after suffering from a fever of more than 38 C.

The infected driver, a resident of Nara Prefecture near Osaka, ferried a group of 31 Wuhan tourists from Osaka to Tokyo between Jan. 8 and Jan. 11. He drove a separate group from Wuhan the other way from Jan. 12 to Jan. 16.

The health ministry reported that the driver saw a doctor Jan. 17 for symptoms that began appearing three days earlier. He wore a mask on the second tour, but not on the first, a Nara Prefecture official said.

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