While plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc. (TEPCO) and the ministry said the infections have not significantly affected work progress up to now, they are growing increasingly cautious about the recent surge.
Some 4,000 people per day work at the Fukushima Daiichi plant. TEPCO reported 98 confirmed infections by Aug. 18. The figure began rising in late July, with 59 infections in August alone, and TEPCO views the cases as a consequence of the coronavirus spread nationally. Though it said no group infection cases have arisen, in some instances, multiple workers in the same work unit have tested positive.
Seventy-nine workers involved in Environment Ministry-ordered projects had tested positive by Aug. 17, with 32 infections confirmed in August. According to the ministry’s Fukushima Regional Environmental Office, 13 infections had been confirmed by Aug. 14 in group transmissions occurring among workers at a town of Naraha facility that processes waste from works such as the dismantling of disaster-affected homes. Infections are believed to have occurred when workers commuted in the same cars. Work at the facility resumed on a reduced scale from Aug. 17.
An environmental office representative said about the series of infections: “We make sure to frequently urge contractors to take thorough infection prevention measures, but we are not sure if these are relayed to subcontractors. It’s difficult to know what each worker is doing.”