A new coronavirus variant has been detected in Japan, the country’s health ministry has said. The new variant was detected in people arriving from Brazil and is different from the ones that have been detected in Britain and South Africa. The variant was found in airport tests on a man in his 40s, a woman in her 30s and two teens, the ministry said Sunday.
Four people who had arrived in Tokyo from Brazil were found to be infected with a new variant of the coronavirus. The four passengers, who landed at Tokyo’s Haneda Airport on January 2 from the state of Amazonas, Brazil, tested positive after spending time in the airport in quarantine, Japan’s Health Ministry announced.
Takaji Wakita, head of the National Institute of Infectious Diseases, said the variant was different from those already spreading in Britain and South Africa, Kyodo News reported. The institute reported that there was no evidence at present that the new strain was more contagious.
Japan was working with other nations, the WHO and other medical experts to analyze the new version of the virus, and it was still unclear whether available vaccines would work.
The man who tested positive had no symptoms upon arrival but was hospitalised after his breathing became difficult. The woman suffered head aches, one teen, a male, had a fever, while the other female teen had no symptoms, according to the ministry.
About 30 cases of variants from Britain and South Africa have earlier been reported in Japan. Experts are worried the variants appear to spread faster.
Japan has declared a state of emergency for the Tokyo area, which kicked in Friday, asking restaurants and bars to close at 8 pm. On Thursday, Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga declared a monthlong state of emergency for Tokyo and neighboring prefectures Chiba, Kanagawa and Saitama, which took effect Friday.
Some have complained that’s not enough, noting train stations and eateries are still packed, including at night. Japan is scheduled to host the Olympics and Paralympics this summer, having been forced to delay the Games by a year because of the pandemic.
Japan has had about 4,000 deaths related to COVID-19 so far, and more than 280,000 confirmed cases.
Source: News Minute