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A woman in Japan tested positive for the coronavirus for the second time on Wednesday, as the country grips with 190 cases separate from the Diamond Princess cruise ship outbreak, according to multiple reports.
The tour bus guide in her 40s first tested positive in late January and was released from the hospital after recovering. She was readmitted after having a sore throat and chest pains, according to the local government.
It’s a first known case of a second positive test in Japan, which prompted Health Minister Katsunobu Kato to inform Japan’s central government of the need to review previous patient lists and monitor the condition of those previously discharged, according to Reuters.
A man wearing a mask visits a beach as snow-capped Mount Fuji is visible in the distance in Fujisawa, Japan, Thursday, Feb. 27, 2020. According to local businesses in the area, the number of visitors has dropped significantly since the outbreak of COVID-19. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
“Once you have the infection, it could remain dormant and with minimal symptoms, and then you can get an exacerbation if it finds its way into the lungs,” said Philip Tierno Jr., professor of microbiology and pathology at NYU School of Medicine, according to the news organization.
The virus can reportedly spread without symptoms showing up, which forces officials to play catch up and makes it far more difficult to manage.
Health officials analyzed the implications of a patient testing positive after having an initial recovery. Second positive tests have been reported in China.
“I’m not certain that this is not bi-phasic, like anthrax,” Tierno Jr. said in regards to the disease being able to go away before reappearing.
With the 2020 Summer Olympic games scheduled in July, Toyko has urged large gatherings of people to be stopped or limited over the next two weeks to contain the virus, according to Reuters.
“The Olympics should be postponed if this continues … There are many people who don’t understand how easy it is to spread this infection from one person to another,” Tierno Jr. said.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced on Thursday the government would close all schools for a month to help contain the virus.
Another death was also reported in northern Hokkaido, which brings the total killed by the virus in Japan to eight. Four have died from the cruise ship, which has roughly 704 cases.