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Japanese soccer official tests positive for coronavirus after visiting Orlando, New York

The president visited Orlando for a SheBelieves Cup match 12 days before receiving the positive diagnosis.

Fans cheer during the She Believes Cup women’s soccer game of USA vs. England at Exploria Stadium in Orlando on Thursday, March 5, 2020. (Stephen M. Dowell/Orlando Sentinel)
Fans cheer during the She Believes Cup match between the U.S. and England at Exploria Stadium in Orlando on March 5. (Stephen M. Dowell/Orlando Sentinel)

Japanese Football Association president Kozo Tashima tested positive for COVID-19 this week after traveling to Orlando and New York with the Japanese women’s national team for the SheBelieves Cup two weeks ago.

The diagnosis came 12 days after Tashima spoke with reporters for an extended period time in a mixed zone at Exploria Stadium in Orlando on March 5. The stadium is the home venue for Orlando City SC and the Orlando Pride, and although neither team played a match in the stadium since the tournament, club staff were present for the SheBelieves Cup.

Tashima’s doctors are unsure when he contracted the virus.

The incubation period for coronavirus can last anywhere from two to 14 days after exposure, according to the Centers for Disease Control. A recent report showed more than 97% of people who have contracted the virus showed symptoms within 11.5 days of exposure.

An Orlando City official said in a statement Tuesday there is no indication Tashima had any direct contact with Orlando City staff members, players or fans at the match. The club added Exploria Stadium is thoroughly cleaned and sanitized before and after each event hosted at the venue.

However, the club is continuing an investigation into the issue and is encouraging anyone who might have come into direct contact with Tashima to self-quarantine and follow CDC guidelines.

Statements from both U.S. Soccer and the English Football Association said they don’t believe Tashima had direct interaction with any women’s national team players or coaches from either federation. Tashima did come into contact with two English staff members, both of whom are currently asymptomatic and following the recommended 14-day self-quarantine.

U.S. Soccer also confirmed no U.S. women’s national team players are currently displaying coronavirus symptoms and players are staying in their respective homes.

The SheBelieves Cup included stops in three different American cities for three games during eight days. A statement from the Japanese FA said Tashima accompanied the team to New York City on March 6, then departed for Japan on March 8, which means he was not in attendance for the team’s final leg of the tournament in Dallas. He did not attend the SheBelieves Cup match at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, N.J., on March 8 despite being in the area.

Upon returning home to Japan, Tashima reported he began to feel feverish on March 14. He was tested test and received a positive diagnosis on March 16. 

In a statement released Tuesday, Tashima shared he had a fever and mild pneumonia symptoms but was otherwise feeling better.

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