TOKYO (TR) – Dozens of persons working in the adult-entertainment industry in Shinjuku Ward have tested positive for the novel coronavirus, the ward has revealed, reports the Yomiuri Shimbun (Apr. 1).
Among those infected are employees at cabaret clubs (kyabakura) host clubs and fuzoku (commercial sex) businesses in Kabukicho, which is the nation’s largest red-light district.
According to Shinjuku Ward officials, the number of persons infected with the coronavirus, which causes the disease COVID-19, has increased rapidly since late March.
During an examination of the matter, ward officials discovered that female employees who sit very close to male customers inside establishments and male street touts were prominent among those infected.
The number of infections attributed to the adult-entertainment industry is about 25 percent of the total for the ward.
Officials have been seeking to learn how the infected persons contracted the virus. However, cooperation has been limited, which has led officials to speculate that other infections have not yet been detected.
Bars, restaurants and karaoke parlors
In addition to hostess clubs and fuzoku businesses, Kabukicho includes bars, restaurants and karaoke parlors, many of which are open until early morning.
During a press conference held on Monday night, Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike urged residents to not patronize such establishments.
“For the time being, I want young people to refrain from going to karaoke rooms and live music clubs, and middle-aged and older people to avoid visiting bars and nightclubs that involve entertainment activities,” she said, according to Jiji Press (Mar. 30).
“Collapse of the medical system”
Shinjuku Ward mayor Kenichi Yoshizumi said in a message posted on the ward’s web site on Tuesday that facilities for the hospitalization of infected people are “under pressure.”
“It cannot be overlooked that people who are unaware that they are infected can infect an unspecified number of people without knowing, which could lead to the collapse of the medical system,” the mayor said.
According to data from the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare, the number of coronavirus infections stood at 2,947 as of 11:30 a.m. on Wednesday.
Of that figure, 712 cases are from the Diamond Princess cruise ship, which until recently was docked at Yokohama Port.