Okinawa outbreak proves US military personnel 'superspreaders': FM
Published: Jan 05, 2022 10:00 PM
Landfill site for US air base in Okinawa. Photo: AFP

Landfill site for US air base in Okinawa. Photo: AFP

US military personnel stationed on foreign soil  show no respect, fail to abide by local epidemic regulations and pay no attention to the local people's health and public health rights, and have repeatedly been the superspreaders of the COVID-19 pandemic, which runs counter to Washington's claim as a leader in the fight against the pandemic around the world, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said on Wednesday.

Wang made the remarks at a routine press conference on Wednesday, in response to reports that the governor of Japan's Okinawa region slammed US military personnel in the prefecture for failing to contain the spread of the epidemic and allowed the Omicron variant to spill over to the civilian population in the region.

Okinawa Governor Denny Tamaki renewed his call to US military authorities to implement thorough measures to rein in the virus, while appealing for an overhaul of the Japan-US Status of Forces Agreement, noting that US military personnel and related individuals are exempt from Japan's quarantine rules, Japan's Asahi Shimbun reported on Monday. 

Okinawa officials said on Monday that the outbreak at Camp Hansen on December 15, 2021 had spread to eight other US bases, affecting 832 military personnel and related individuals, Asahi Shimbun reported.

Okinawa officials reported 225 new cases on Tuesday, including 47 of the Omicron strain. The first Omicron case among civilians was traced to a local man employed at a US base.

Wang said it is not an individual case where a community outbreak took place in a US military camp, leading to a severe threat to the local civilians' life and health. Similar events occurred in many places such as South Korea and Germany. 

COVID-19 protocols should be applied without exception, be it a place or a person. The US should reflect on its behavior and the negative impact it brings to the international cooperation on epidemic prevention, the spokesperson said. 

The US should strictly restrain the behavior of its overseas military personnel, and take on a responsible stance and a respectful manner to the people's life and health all around the world, and stop being a negative example to the pandemic battling efforts, Wang noted. 

Global Times