Japan: New Covid-19 Variant Found In Travellers From Brazil

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In Japan, a new Covid-19 strain has been detected in 4 travelers from Brazil’s Amazonas state, said Japan’s Health Ministry said on Sunday.

The four people arrived in Tokyo on January 2. Of them, a man in his forties had difficulty breathing, a woman in her thirties had a headache and sore throat, and a teenage had a fever, while a teenage woman showed no symptoms, said the Ministry.

The WHO (World Health Organization) has been informed of the new strain.

According to Takaji Wakita, head of the National Institute of Infectious Diseases, the new variant is different from those first found in the UK and South Africa. However, the three of them share some common mutations.

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I understand a new variant that is different from Britain’s and South Africa’s has been found,” Wakita told a health ministry briefing.

The new variant is being studied to find Characteristics of it, such as how effective vaccines can be against it and how serious its symptoms can be, said a health ministry official.

“At the moment, there is no proof showing the new variant found in those from Brazil is high in infectiousness,” Takaji Wakita, head of the National Institute of Infectious Diseases (NIID), said. Still, Brazil’s health ministry said it has been notified by Japan’s authorities that the new variant has 12 mutations, and one of them has already been identified also in the variants found in the UK and in South Africa. “It implies in a potential higher virus infectiousness,” it said.

Furthermore Japan declared a state of emergency for Tokyo and three prefectures neighbouring the capital on Thursday after seeing a steep rise in coronavirus cases.

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Nationwide cases have rose about 289,000, with 4,061 deaths, public broadcaster NHK said.


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