Japanese news anchor Yuta Tomikawa reports for work sick, tests positive for Covid-19

Do not go to work if you are unwell. It is a message that has been resonating through the coronavirus pandemic.

Well, Japanese newscaster Yuta Tomikawa obviously did not get the memo, as he turned up for work sick in the days before he tested positive for Covid-19 last Saturday (April 11).

Tomikawa, 43, is the main news anchor from Monday to Thursday at TV Asahi’s Hodo Station. His case has sparked a backlash as it was disclosed that he felt unwell as early as April 3, when he had a fever of 38 deg C.

He was still sick on April 4 and told his producer he would see a doctor the next day, a Sunday, though he did not do so in the end as he felt better.

He returned to work on April 6, but viewers noticed on April 7 that his voice was hoarse and he was coughing at times during the news broadcast.

While climbing the stairs on April 8, he had trouble breathing, but went to work the next day. Finally, on April 10, he saw a doctor and was tested for Covid-19.

He said in a statement from the hospital that he did not know where he could have got infected, as he had not attended any gathering nor done outdoor reporting since late March.

On Wednesday (April 15), he issued an apology through Hodo Station, saying he would self-reflect for not informing his supervisor or company about his health condition.

The station’s chief producer and programme director have also tested positive for Covid-19.

The premises have been closed for three days for disinfection. All the employees involving in producing the news programme have been told to stop work and be quarantined at home, and staff from other units deployed to run the programme.

Staff are also required to take their temperature every morning, and inform the company and stay home if they have a fever.

The station’s popular programme, Music Station, has also suspended live recording till late April.

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