Japan: 19 sumo wrestlers tested positive for coronavirus

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TOKYO | An outbreak of coronavirus in a sumo training center in Tokyo has caused the infection of 19 people, the body which governs this traditional Japanese sport announced Thursday, adding that a tournament scheduled to start on Sunday would still take place.

• Read also: All developments in the COVID-19 pandemic

The Japanese Sumo Association (AJS) said 19 wrestlers from “the stable” Tamanoi, including one classified in the top salaried divisions, had tested positive for COVID-19.

Twelve of them were hospitalized, while the others, asymptomatic, were placed in quarantine.

The cases were detected after a wrestler with symptoms tested positive for the coronavirus last week, prompting the Tamanoi team to perform tests on 32 people who had contact with him.

No member of the team will participate in the September tournament – these competitions take place every two months – which is due to open on Sunday in Tokyo for two weeks.

A sumo wrestler died of Covid-19 disease last May, the first death linked to the coronavirus pandemic in this traditional Japanese sporting discipline.

The AJS had taken the exceptional decision to cancel a tournament in May, for only the third time in sumo history, but maintained that of July, with a limited number of spectators.

This new source of contamination appears as Japan, which has observed a decrease in the number of new daily cases since August, relaxes its health restrictions.

The capital Tokyo, which is by far the most affected region in the country, should lower its alert level on Friday.

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