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25 performers at traditional Japanese Awa Odori dance festival test positive for coronavirus

People perform in the Awa Odori dance festival in the city of Tokushima on Aug. 12, 2022. (Mainichi/Rei Kubo)

TOKUSHIMA -- Twenty-five members of one of some 30 dance groups that performed in the Awa Odori traditional dance festival in this city between Aug. 12 and 15 have tested positive for the coronavirus, it emerged on Aug. 19.

    According to a source close to the matter, three of the about 50 group members complained of poor health on Aug. 14, and the team canceled their performance the following day. Many more members came down with fevers and other symptoms after the festival. Twenty-five of them, ranging from their teens to their 50s, then tested positive for the coronavirus.

    Members apparently disinfected their hands and avoided eating or drinking when in the waiting room, and made sure to wear masks except when dancing. The source said, "I have no clue where and how they got infected."

    Though the Tokushima Prefectural Government announced that by Aug. 18 no infection clusters had hit the festival, there have been reports of multiple members of another dance team getting the virus.

    There were at least two cluster infections at the 2022 Yosakoi Naruko Odori Tokubetsu Enbu dance festival in the neighboring prefecture of Kochi on Aug. 10 and 11. The Kochi Prefectural Government announced nine members of a dance team had COVID-19 on Aug. 16, and 26 dancers of another group on Aug. 18.

    (Japanese original by Yoshihiro Yamamoto, Tokushima Bureau, and Satoshi Kobayashi, Kochi Bureau)

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