Seven more students were confirmed as being infected with the H1N1 strain of influenza A after Japan confirmed the first domestic infection case Saturday morning, local authorities and the health ministry said.
Among the newly confirmed, three students from a high school in Kobe, Hyogo Prefecture. Four others were from the same high school as the first confirmed patient -- a 17-year-old male high school student in Kobe.
All the eight students, two male and six female, had no record of overseas travel, according to the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare. But some of them had contact during a volleyball match.
There are also suspected cases in nearby Osaka Prefecture.
Japan's health ministry confirmed the first domestic case of infection with the H1N1 strain of influenza A virus on Saturday morning.
The total infection cases have reached 12 in Japan.
In the face of the latest development, the government shifted the stage of its new-flu action program from "a period of overseas outbreak" to "an early period of domestic outbreak" and called for companies and schools in the areas concerned to allow individuals to avoid commuting during rush hours.
The health ministry is planning to gradually downscale the currently conducted strict quarantine inspections and shift to focus on preventing the domestic spread of the influenza.