Hawaii on alert after Japanese couple with coronavirus visited the state as Delta and Hawaiian Airlines say more than 200 passengers may be at risk

Monday, February 17, 2020
By Paul Martin

A Japanese couple who visited Hawaii were both confirmed to have coronavirus
They spent January 28-February 3 on Maui before going on to Oahu until February 7
The man developed symptoms while in Oahu but didn’t seek medical attention until returning to Hawaii where he was diagnosed
His wife was confirmed to have the virus too on Saturday
Hawaii health officials are now trying to find anyone who may have come into contact with the couple
At least one man has offered to isolate himself, but health officials told him to wait until Tuesday to see if he develops symptoms
The couple returned to Japan on Delta flight and the airline is now contacting all 200 passengers to alert them of possible exposure to the virus

17 February 2020

A couple who visited Hawaii was confirmed to have coronavirus when they returned home to Japan, Hawaii officials said Friday.

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

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) notified Hawaii about the man having the illness known as COVID-19 on Friday morning, Hawaii Health Director Bruce Anderson said. His wife had not yet been diagnosed.

The couple was in Hawaii January 28 to February 7. They first visited the island of Maui, where neither person showed symptoms, Anderson said, but the man developed symptoms while on Oahu, the state’s most populated island, between February 3 and 7.

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.

On Saturday, the man’s wife was confirmed to have the virus as well, but did not show symptoms while in Hawaii.

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.

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 US 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.

One American has died of the virus, while hospitalized in Wuhan. Worldwide, more than 71,700 people are infected, and 1,775 have died.

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