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Man with coronavirus worked at central Japan convenience store contrary to past reports

The Kamiishimori 7-Eleven branch, where a man who tested positive for the new coronavirus was working, is seen in the city of Yamanashi. (Mainichi)

KOFU -- A man in his 60s with the new coronavirus, initially reported to not have had close contact with others, had actually been working at a local convenience store, the Yamanashi Prefectural Government and Seven-Eleven Japan Co. announced on March 8.

Operation of the Kamiishimori 7-Eleven branch in the central Japan city of Yamanashi has been suspended since March 8. The man, the first person to test positive for the virus in Yamanashi Prefecture, is assumed to have come into close contact with eight people during work including staff members. One of them developed a fever and other symptoms.

The man regularly spent time in the prefectural cities of Fuefuki, Yamanashi and Kofu, and the prefectural government is advising local people concerned about their health to consult a public health center.

According to past announcements, the man developed symptoms including a headache on Feb. 28 after going to places including a live venue in the western Japan city of Osaka, where others were also later found infected. It had earlier been reported that he had been absent from outdoor work he does on his own and stayed home between Feb. 29 and March 4, and that he hadn't had close contact with others.

In reality, however, he had actually worked at the convenience store as a part-timer until March 5 after he came back from Osaka. During work, he served customers and stocked the shelves. The total number of days he worked does not match between the announcements made by the prefectural government and Seven-Eleven Japan.

During a probe the prefectural government conducted until March 7, the man avoided telling prefectural officials that he had worked at the convenience store. However, he notified the branch owner that he tested positive for the coronavirus in the early hours of the same day. The company then reported the matter to the prefectural government.

On the issue of failing to find that the man had worked at the convenience store, a prefectural government official explained, "Without positive cooperation from patients, it's hard to prevent further infection." The prefectural government reportedly organized a dedicated team to confirm patients' actions on March 8.

The prefectural government also revealed that the man went to get a massage on March 2 and 3, and came into close contact with 30 people. Seven-Eleven Japan also halted the operation of the Yamanashi Shimokanogawa branch from March 8, managed by the same owner of the Kamiishimori branch.

(Japanese original by Nami Takata, Kofu Bureau)

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