Japanese man who visited Hawaii confirmed with coronavirus

  • Hawaii Gov. David Ige, center, state Health Director Bruce Anderson, left, and state Epidemiologist Sarah Park, right, discuss a tourist who was confirmed with the coronavirus after returning home to Japan at a news conference in Honolulu on Friday, Feb. 14, 2020. Hawaii officials are trying to learn more about who was in close contact with the man and other details about his time in the islands. (AP Photo/Jennifer Sinco Kelleher)

HONOLULU— A man who visited Hawaii was confirmed to have coronavirus when he returned home to Japan, Hawaii officials said Friday.

Health officials were tracking down details about his travel in the Aloha State, including his flight information and people with whom he had close contact.

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The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notified Hawaii about the man having the illness known as COVID-19 on Friday morning, Hawaii Health Director Bruce Anderson said.

The man was in Hawaii Jan. 28 to Feb. 7. He first visited the island of Maui, where he had no symptoms, Anderson said. He was on Oahu, the state’s most populated island, Feb. 3-7. While on Oahu, he had cold-like symptoms, but no fever, Anderson said.

He developed more serious symptoms when he returned to Japan, where he was tested and found to be positive for the illness, Anderson. He did not seek medical care in Hawaii, Anderson said.

Because of when his symptoms began, officials believe he became infected in Japan or while in transit to Hawaii, said state epidemiologist Dr. Sarah Park.

He is from Japan’s Aichi Prefecture. The man was traveling with his wife, and while on Oahu, they stayed in Grand Waikikian By Hilton, officials said.

“Our focus at this point is to try and understand who potentially this person may have had close, prolonged contact,” Park said, adding that they’re concentrating on his whereabouts while on Oahu because that’s where he developed symptoms.

If any close contacts are identified, those people would be isolated for 14 days, Anderson said.

Japan has about 250 confirmed cases of the new disease that apparently started in Wuhan, a city in central China, in December.

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Japan announced Thursday its first death from the virus, hours after confirming 44 more cases on a cruise ship quarantined near Tokyo as fears of the spreading disease mount in the country.

So far, only 15 U.S. cases of the coronavirus have been confirmed, and no deaths. All but two of the cases were in people who had traveled to Wuhan, China, the epicenter of the international outbreak. The remaining two were spread from travelers to their spouses.

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