New coronavirus variant found in travelers from Brazil --Japan gov't | Inquirer News
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New coronavirus variant found in travelers from Brazil –Japan gov’t

/ 09:11 PM January 10, 2021

Pedestrians wearing protective masks, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, make their way to Ginza shopping district which closed to cars on Sunday in Tokyo, Japan, January 10, 2021. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

TOKYO  — A new coronavirus variant has been detected in four travelers from Brazil’s Amazonas state, Japan’s Health Ministry said on Sunday, in the latest instance the pandemic virus is evolving.

A ministry official said studies were underway into the efficacy of vaccines against the new variant, which differs from highly-infectious variants first found in Britain and South Africa that have driven a surge in cases.

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“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, told a health ministry briefing.

Of the four travelers who arrived at Tokyo’s Haneda airport on Jan. 2, a man in his forties had a problem breathing, a woman in her thirties had a headache and sore throat and a man in his teens had a fever, while a woman in her teens showed no symptoms, the health ministry said.

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After seeing a steep rise in coronavirus cases, Japan declared a state of emergency for Tokyo and three prefectures neighboring the capital on Thursday.

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

/MUF

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