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Coronavirus

Japan's offices, schools and nurseries become COVID hotbeds

Virulent new strains slip past spotty vigilance and mixed messages on restrictions

Commuter board a subway train in Tokyo. Office spaces have now become the main type of location of coronavirus infection in Japan.   © Reuters

TOKYO -- Workplaces and schools are emerging as hot spots for infection in Japan's latest wave of COVID-19 cases, moving beyond the hospitals and senior care facilities that had been the main sources of spread.

Not even the health ministry is immune. An outbreak that infected at least 29 was traced to a widely attended late-night party in late March that involved plenty of sharing of food and drinks. The event was connected to the ministry's Health and Welfare Bureau for the Elderly. The coronavirus is believed to have entered the bureau as early as midmonth and to have spread through shared spaces and equipment, such as restrooms, drinking fountains and telephones.

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