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Tokyo woman on trip using gov't 'Go To' program tests positive for coronavirus

The Saga Prefectural Government building is seen in the city of Saga in this Feb. 26, 2019 file photo. (Mainichi/Mio Ikeda)

SAGA -- A woman from Tokyo who traveled in Aichi, Nagasaki and Saga prefectures using the national government's "Go To Travel" domestic tourism subsidy program has tested positive for the novel coronavirus, the Saga Prefectural Government announced on Oct. 4.

    The case is believed to mark the first time that a Tokyo-based user of the Go To Travel campaign -- aimed at reviving the pandemic-hit tourism industry -- has tested positive for the virus, since the Japanese capital was added to the program on Oct. 1.

    According to the Saga Prefectural Government, the woman, a company employee in her 20s, arrived in Aichi Prefecture in central Japan on Sept. 30 along with her mother. They then visited the southwestern prefecture of Nagasaki on Oct. 1 and neighboring Saga Prefecture on Oct. 2. They stayed overnight in each of the three prefectures.

    As the woman's colleague was found to be infected with the coronavirus on Oct. 1, her company in Tokyo instructed her to undergo a polymerase chain reaction test. In compliance, she visited a medical institution in Saga Prefecture on Oct. 2 and the result came back positive the following day. Her mother tested negative for the virus.

    The daughter was quoted as telling officials, "I came to travel in Nagasaki and Saga using the Go To Travel campaign."

    During her trip, she was basically wearing a mask. She and her mother flew from Aichi to Nagasaki and primarily used trains when traveling from Nagasaki to Saga. During her stay in Saga, she didn't go outside of her accommodation facility except for when she visited the medical institution. Officials said there were no reports of someone having come into close contact with her or feeling unwell in Saga Prefecture.

    The woman had no COVID-19 symptoms during her trip. An official of the Saga Prefectural Government said, "It is reasonable to think that she was infected with the virus in Tokyo and went on a trip without any symptoms. They (the woman and her mother) were enjoying their holiday while avoiding the 'three Cs' (confined spaces, crowded places and close contact with others)."

    Referring to other travelers from Tokyo, the official commented, "We would like them to visit Saga Prefecture while taking proper (virus prevention) measures."

    (Japanese original by Mio Ikeda, Saga Bureau)

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