Japan confirms first case of new variant of coronavirus

TOKYO (AP) – Japan on Tuesday confirmed its first case of the new omicron coronavirus variant, a visitor who recently …

TOKYO (AP) – Japan on Tuesday confirmed its first case of the new omicron coronavirus variant, a visitor who recently arrived from Namibia, an official said.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno said the patient, a man in his 30s, tested positive on arrival at Narita airport on Sunday and was isolated and being treated at a hospital. Matsuno did not identify his nationality with reference to privacy.

A genome analysis at the National Institute of Infectious Diseases confirmed on Tuesday that he was infected with the new variant, which was first identified in South Africa.

His travel companions and passengers in nearby seats have been identified and have been reported to Japanese health authorities for follow-up. Japanese media said two of the patient’s relatives tested negative and have been quarantined at a government facility near Narita airport.

Matsuno said the government will maintain strict border controls and will increase its capacity to conduct genomic analyzes of the new variant.

Japan announced on Monday that it will ban all foreign visitors from Tuesday as an emergency measure against the variant, tentatively until the end of the year. The government also requires Japanese nationals and foreigners with residence permits to be quarantined 14 days after entry.

The World Health Organization warned Monday that the global risk from the omicron variant is “very high” based on the early evidence, saying it could lead to increases with “serious consequences.”

Copyright © 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.

Give a Comment