While 2020 had passed away by leaving behind the global threat of the COVID-19 pandemic, the New Year has brought the sequel of the novel coronavirus as several global countries have been reporting new COVID-19 variant within eleven days into the New Year. With the United Kingdom and South Africa have been bracing up for the emergence of different variants of COVID-19, Japan has now become the third country to report a new COVID-19 variant in its territory.
The shocking development of the rise of a new variant in Japan has come when the country has been preparing to host the Olympics this year. On Sunday, Japan's Health Ministry has said that a new coronavirus variant has been detected in the country. The new variant was found in people who arrived in Tokyo from Brazil. By asserting that the new variant is different from the ones that have been detected in Britain and South Africa, the ministry said that the variant was found in airport tests on a man in his 40s, a woman in her 30s, and two teens.
The health ministry said that these four passengers were landed at Tokyo's Haneda Airport on January 2 from the state of Amazonas, Brazil and they had tested positive after spending time in the airport in quarantine. According to reports, Takaji Wakita, head of the National Institute of Infectious Diseases, said that the detected variant was different from those already spreading in the United Kingdom and South Africa.
The development has come when Japan has already been suffering from the COVID-19 viral infection with over 2,80,000 confirmed cases and 4,000 deaths so far. Amid detecting the new variant, the institute has reported that there was no evidence at present that the new strain was more contagious. The Health Ministry stated that the man who returned from Brazil was asymptomatic and he was tested positive when he arrived and he was hospitalized after his breathing became difficult.
The woman had suffered a headache while a male teenager had a fever and the other female teen had no symptoms. Japan has detected the new variant when the country had already reported over 30 cases of variants from Britain and South Africa, which had pushed the authorities and health experts to meet fresh challenges to contain the spread of the variants that are predicted to spread faster than COVID-19.
Japan has been working with the World Health Organization (WHO), the other nations, and other medical experts to review and analyze the new and different variant of the virus and the Asian economic giant is still unclear whether the vaccines would respond to the new variant. The developments had pushed the government to impose another phase of strict lockdown and restrictions.
Japan had declared a state of emergency for Tokyo and it came into effect on Friday restricting the bars and restaurants to close at 8 pm. Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga had on Thursday declared a state of emergency for a month for Tokyo and its neighboring provinces that took effect on Friday. While the new variants from the UK and South Africa are found to be highly-infectious and more transmissible than COVID-19, Japan has been studying its version of the variant and how it transmits to other humans.