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Japanese health officials have claimed the new variant of the virus discovered in their country has similarities to that of the highly-contagious strains in the UK and South Africa. The new strain was detected on passengers who had disembarked from a plane that had arrived from Brazil. Japanese news outlet Nikkei Asia said the passengers arrived at Haneda Airport in Tokyo on Saturday, January 2.
Three out of the four passengers who are infected with the new variant have presented symptoms including breathing difficulties, a fever, and a sore throat.
Japan’s National Institute of Infectious Diseases, NIID, stated on Sunday that they are still investigating its genetic make-up.
The institute said it was difficult to determine how infectious the new variant is and whether vaccines will be effective against it.
Japan’s Ministry of Health said the four passengers had arrived in Japan on January 2.
They have all been diagnosed with this new variant, one is a male in his 40s, who had asymptomatic upon arrival, but he was later hospitalised as his respiratory system worsened.
The NIID immediately informed the World Health Organization of the new strain.
Japanese newspaper the Yomiuri Shimbun reported that the NIID is studying if the variant causes more severe cases.
More to follow…