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SKE48’s Nao Fukushi tests positive for coronavirus, 15 other members close contacts

TOKYO (TR) – Nao Fukushi, a member of idol group SKE48, has tested positive for the novel coronavirus, and more than one dozen fellow members have been deemed to have been close contacts, the group revealed on Sunday.

On December 21, Fukushi, 21, began experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, according to a message posted on the group web site.

However, a subsequent polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test gave a negative result. She then remained home to recover.

When her condition did not improve, Fukushi took another PCR test on December 25, which gave the positive result. She will continue recovering at home until January 3, the message said.

Nao Fukushi (YouTube)

The group also said that fifteen members were found to be in close contact with Fukushi, including Kimie Akahori, Aika Sugiyama, Nanami Takeuchi, Rika Tsuzuki, Miyo Nomura, Chikako Matsumoto, Ayaka Ota, Mina Oba, Yukino Shirai, Fuyaka Fujimoto, Kaede Ikeda, Kaho Sato, Oka Suenaga, Marika Tani and Negai Fukai.

Though none of the 15 members are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, they will refrain from performing in public beginning on Monday.

“We would like to sincerely apologize for any inconvenience and concern caused to all relevant parties and fans,” the agency said. “We will continue to seek guidance from government agencies, including health centers and medical institutions, to thoroughly manage the physical condition of the group’s members and staff to prevent the spread of infection.”