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88 affiliated with school soccer club among 91 infected with virus in western Japan city

Matsue City Hall is seen in the western Japan city in this file photo taken on March 1, 2019. (Mainichi/Aoi Maeda)

MATSUE -- This city in the western Japan prefecture of Shimane announced 91 new infections of the novel coronavirus on Aug. 9, including 86 students and two teachers affiliated with a high school soccer club.

    The outbreak hit members of the soccer club at Rissho Shonan High school in Matsue. The three other people not affiliated with the club had been in close contact with a man in his 70s who had been at the school, and whose infection was already known. The city accordingly judged that the soccer club was the center of an infection cluster at the school.

    So far, none of the infected people have shown serious symptoms of COVID-19. About 30 connected with the soccer club were confirmed to have light symptoms. A teenage student at the school was diagnosed on Aug. 8, and students and teachers had subsequently undergone polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests.

    About 70% of students at the school are from outside the prefecture, and 80 of the 86 who were infected had been living in the school dormitory. The school is known for having a strong soccer team, and has regularly appeared in national tournaments. There are currently about 330 students enrolled in the school.

    The school had ended classes for the term on Aug. 7, and the summer break began the following day.

    Shimane Prefecture, on Japan's main island of Honshu, had recorded 31 coronavirus infections before the soccer club cluster came to light. Including one other person outside the city of Matsue who was confirmed to be infected, Shimane Prefecture has now recorded a total of 123 infections.

    (Japanese original by Haruno Kosaka and Hajime Meno, Matsue Bureau)

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