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Man leaves hotel for coronavirus patients in Osaka without permission

This file photo taken on Feb. 25, 2019 shows the Osaka Prefectural Government headquarters in Osaka's Chuo Ward. (Mainichi/Yumi Shibamura)

OSAKA -- A man staying at a hotel in this western Japan city for novel coronavirus patients with mild or no symptoms went home by taxi without permission, the prefectural government announced on Aug. 8.

    The man, who took preventive measures such as wearing a mask and did not have any close contact with other people on his journey, is now recuperating at home at the request of a local public health center.

    "My room wasn't good in sanitary terms. I'm sorry for causing trouble," the man, who is in his 30s, was quoted as telling officials.

    Prefectural officials said the man entered the hotel on Aug. 6. From about 8 a.m. the following morning, a nurse phoned around a dozen times to check on his health, but couldn't get through. They realized in the evening that he wasn't in his room and confirmed that he had returned home. He had left the hotel at around 3 p.m.

    Under Japan's law on preventing infectious diseases, governors or mayors can ask for cooperation from patients who are recuperating in hotels not to leave their rooms, and the prefecture forbids COVID-19 patients from departing their quarantine accommodations.

    Another young male patient at the same hotel left at about 5 a.m. on Aug. 3 to go shopping. The prefectural government subsequently decided to increase the number of guards at the hotel by one during the day and two at night, but the patient in his 30s left the facility immediately before this was implemented.

    (Japanese original by Hirohito Ueno, Osaka City News Department)

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