According to a statement issued by the Japan Sumo Association, Matsugane Hideki, coach in the Nishonoseki Stable, tested positive for COVID-19. Nishinoseki is home to Shohozan and Ichiyamamoto, among others. According to the statement and as we learned from Herouth over on Twitter, Matsugane was out scouting new recruits and so was tested, despite having no symptoms. He has been admitted and is under observation.
With the Coronavirus, symptoms may take some time to develop. Hopefully this is a sign that the Kyokai has instituted an effective testing protocol for those who have to conduct business outside the stable. We’ve also learned that after the positive test, there’s a contact tracing investigation. In the case of Matsugane, he was not near the stable or in close contact with its wrestlers during the July basho. Perhaps this regimen can be adapted to loosen the restrictions on movement?
Herouth shared a tweeted video of yusho-winner Terunofuji visiting his former high school, where Ishiura’s dad is the principal. One wonders whether despite the mask and gloves, Terunofuji would have been tested and whether any sekitori who make public appearances would be now tested according to this protocol.