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37 students from west Japan university who studied in US infected with COVID

A sign for Kindai University is seen in this file photo. (Mainichi/Kazuhisa Soneda)

OSAKA -- Thirty-seven students from Kindai University who studied in the United States have been infected with the coronavirus, the private school headquartered in Osaka Prefecture announced on Jan. 11.

    While it is not clear if they were infected with the omicron variant, all of them apparently had either mild or no symptoms. The university explained that 15 of the infected students have already returned to Japan and that they are recuperating at facilities designated by the central government.

    According to Kindai University, 37 coronavirus cases were confirmed among 154 sophomore students at the Faculty of International Studies who were studying in the U.S. from September 2021. Fourteen of those cases were confirmed while in the U.S., and eight students tested positive before leaving for Japan. Another 15 students were found infected upon arrival in Japan.

    While 33 students had proved negative in PCR tests between Jan. 1 and 3 in the U.S., after arriving in Japan on Jan. 5, 10 of the students tested positive in antigen tests at a quarantine station in Tokyo's Haneda Airport. Five more students who had had close contact with them also tested positive on Jan. 6. A cluster infection is suspected as these 15 students stayed at the same dorm in the U.S. and took the same bus to the airport.

    The 154 students from Kindai University studied at six universities in four states in the U.S. Seventy-two students including 22 who are infected with the coronavirus are still in the U.S. They are slated to return to Japan by early February.

    (Japanese original by Kouki Matsumoto, Osaka Science & Environment News Department)

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