18 trainee doctors who ignored dining ban test positive for coronavirus

Eighteen trainee doctors at a Tokyo hospital have tested positive for the new coronavirus after dining in a group of some 40 people, ignoring repeated calls not to join such gatherings, the hospital said Monday.

Keio University Hospital said one trainee doctor tested positive for the coronavirus on March 31, and subsequent tests found 17 more infections among 99 trainee doctors who might have been in close contact with the first trainee.

"This is an intolerable act as persons engaging in medical care who should protect patients. I offer my deep apology," Yuko Kitagawa, head of the hospital, said in a statement.

The 99 trainee doctors have been ordered to stay home for two weeks. The hospital did not disclose when the approximately 40 trainees gathered for dining.

The infections come at a time when Tokyo and six other prefectures brace for a state of emergency to be declared on Tuesday over the coronavirus pandemic.

People in Japan have been urged to stay home and avoid public gatherings to prevent further spread of the virus.