Dozens of sex workers in one of Japan’s biggest red-light districts have been infected with the coronavirus — and feared to be behind an explosion of cases that have left local hospitals “overwhelmed,” according to reports.
Officials in Kabukicho say a sharp increase in infections appears linked to the adult entertainment area — with most cases among women working the clubs and men scouting for women, The Japan News said.
The intimacy involved makes the spread almost inevitable — and almost impossible to trace its likely path, with the sex workers refusing to cooperate about who they have been in contact with, the paper said.
Amid fears that the problem is worse than known, the local mayor, Kenichi Yoshizumi, says the area’s medical facilities are already on the verge of being “overwhelmed,” according to the South China Morning Post (SCMP).
Yoshizumi advised people to avoid the adult clubs, The Japan News said.
An estimated 300,000 people visit Kabukicho’s 300 sex-related businesses each day, according to The Sun.
Kazuhiro Tateda, president of the Japan Association of Infectious Diseases and a member of a government coronavirus committee, said that the bug is “spreading seriously in nightlife districts,” the SCMP said.
“This is related to nightlife,” Tateda insisted, as he noted almost half of the most recent infections in Tokyo have been aged between their late teens and 40s.
“This is a very busy district of nightclubs where people are close together and that is popular with middle-aged men.”
As of Thursday, Japan had seen almost 2,400 confirmed cases, with 57 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data.