Tokyo traces COVID-19 outbreak linked to theater

Tokyo, Jul 14 (efe-epa).- Tokyo authorities are tracing hundreds of people who recently attended a play, after which dozens of coronavirus cases emerged, making it one of the most concerning COVID-19 hotspots in the city.

In Tokyo’s Shinjuku neighborhood between June 30 and July 5, some 800 people attended a play at a small theater with capacity for 186 spectators, but with instructions from the organizers not to accommodate more than 93 people in each of the 12 performances that were offered there.

But in recent hours, alarm bells began to ring after it was discovered that 30 people have been infected with the novel coronavirus, including audience members, actors and employees of Theater Moliere.

For the moment, the main concern is to try to locate the rest of the nearly 800 people who were in close contact with those infected. The whereabouts of many of them are unknown and there is a risk that they are infected and have begun to spread the virus.

In addition, some of the spectators were not from Tokyo, so the search may need to be expanded.

Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike told reporters on Monday that the authorities will investigate what measures the theater and organizers took, before deciding what needed to be established going forward.

On Tuesday, Koike stressed the need to thoroughly assess leisure activities in the capital, adding that restaurants from where cases emerge may have problems that the establishments and customers needed to be aware of.

Sources from the theater company told local media that they had asked the show’s organizers to place protective shields in the front row to prevent the virus from spreading, but it is being investigated to confirm whether this was done.

The authorities are urging all those who were present at the performances to get tested for the virus.

The play presented by Theatre Moliere, “The Jinro,” is based on a game by the same name in which spectators can become active participants, which increases the interaction between actors and the public.

The theater is located close to the Kabukicho district, which until recently had been the main coronavirus hotspot in Tokyo due to the spread of COVID-19 cases in that area, especially among the staff at entertainment places..

The concern regarding the theater comes amid reports of an upsurge in coronavirus cases in Tokyo with more than 200 recorded daily last week.

The figure dropped to 119 on Monday, although infections surged again to 143 on Tuesday, Koike said. EFE-EPA


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