TOKYO — When a cluster of coronavirus infections broke out in Kyoto’s Horikawa Hospital, medical staff were not only battling a potentially deadly disease at work. They came home to fight an even more unsettling disease — fear and discrimination.

Their children were turned away from nursery schools and after-school clubs, their spouses were told not to come to work, three were fired from their second jobs, and one was told point-blank to stay away from a favorite diner.

Nearly nine months after the novel coronavirus first arrived in Japan, “korona sabetsu” (coronavirus discrimination) is proving almost as hard to eradicate as the virus itself.

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