New COVID Strain Found in Japan in 4 Travellers From Brazil

This strain is different from variants found in South Africa and the UK, which are known to be highly infectious.

2 min read
A new variant of coronavirus has been found.

The Japanese Health Ministry on Sunday, 10 January, has found a new mutation of the coronavirus strain after four travellers from Brazil’s Amazonas state tested positive. This strain is different from the variants found in South Africa and the United Kingdom, which are known to be highly infectious.

The travellers arrived on 2 January at Tokyo’s Haneda Airport, according to the health ministry. One of them is a man, in his 40s, who didn’t have symptoms upon arrival but was hospitalised for shortness of breath. The woman had a sore throat and headaches, one male teenager had a fever, whereas a female teenager showed no symptoms, reported AP. They are now quarantined at the Tokyo airport.

After a sharp increase in cases, Japan declared a state of emergency for Tokyo and three prefectures on Thursday, asking restaurants and bars in the capital city to close by 8 pm. There have been around 4,000 deaths and 2,80,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Japan, reported AP.

New Strain Has 12 Mutations

According to Reuters, the new coronavirus variant has 12 mutations, one of which has been identified in the variants found in the United Kingdom and South Africa, told Japan’s authorities to Brazil’s Health Ministry.

Japan’s Health Ministry told Reuters that at the moment, there is no proof to conclude the new variant found in Japan is infectious, but studies are being conducted to check the efficacy of the vaccines against the new strain.

Japan has reported approximately 30 cases of variants from Britain and South Africa earlier on, reported AP.

(With inputs from Reuters and AP.)

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