A boy under the age of 10 is confirmed to have contracted the novel coronavirus. This case is Japan’s youngest person to be infected by COVID-19 since the outbreak in January.

The Asahi Shimbun reports that the boy, a pupil of Nakafurano Elementary School in Hokkaido Prefecture, was hospitalized on February 19th. According to the local government, the boy was absent from school after coming down with a fever on February 15th. He was taken to a medical institution for inspection on February 15th and 17th, and then to a different medical institution on February 18th before being hospitalized the following day.

A second boy, reported by Nippon TV News 24 Japan to be the teenage brother of the under 10-year-old, attends the same school in Nakafurano, and has also been confirmed as having the potentially deadly virus. According to Asahi Shimbun, the boy left school early after he contracted a fever on February 18th. He was hospitalized the following day after he visited a medical institution for a checkup.

Both boys from the elementary school are reported to be recovering.

Aside from the two new cases of infections in children, the local government has reported that a woman in her 40’s who works as a quarantine officer in the region has also been infected by COVID-19.

None of the above cases in Hokkaido are reported to have travelled outside of the country, which makes finding the source of infection extremely important. The local Hokkaido government has said it will investigate how the three came to be infected and to crack down on the transmission route of the virus.

As of February 23rd, a second woman, who delivers meals to an elementary school in Hokkaido has also contracted the infection, as stated by The Mainichi. This case brings the total number of infections in Hokkaido to nine.

In addition to the two boys infected in Hokkaido, a boy and his father residing in Saitama prefecture, north of Tokyo have tested positive for the virus. The father and son returned to Japan on a chartered flight last month from Wuhan, China, where it is expected that the COVID-19 virus had originated.

NHK states that further infections have been reported in Tokyo, Kanagawa, Chiba, Aichi Ishikawa, and Kumamoto prefectures. The new reports include a man in his 40’s who resides in Chiba but has made several business trips across the country since falling ill, and a couple living in the same building as a woman in her 60’s who was already infected.

By - Connie Sceaphierde.