A new mutant strain of COVID has been discovered in Japan, as experts warn it’s similar to the highly contagious UK and South Africa variants
A new mutation of the COVID-19 virus has been discovered in Japan, with health officials in the country saying that it has similarities to that of the recently-discovered highly-contagious coronavirus variants that have been found in Britain and South Africa.
This new mutant strain of COVID-19, which has not been seen anywhere else in the world yet, was found in four people who arrived in Japan on a flight from Brazil.
This comes after Michael Gove has warned that there are “very, very difficult weeks ahead” as England battles to reduce the spread of the novel coronavirus in the country, which is being driven by a new COVID variant that has been judged to be between 50% and 70% more transmissible than the previous one.
According to Nikkei Asia, the passengers from Brazil landed at Haneda Airport in the city of Tokyo on Saturday, January the 2nd.
The group of travellers, described as men and women said to be aged from their teens to their 40s, took coronavirus tests at Haneda airport, which came back with positive readings for COVID-19.
Three of those people who tested positive for the new variant of the novel coronavirus displayed various symptoms including having breathing difficulties, as well as a fever and a sore throat.
According to Bloomberg, one of the men, who was in his 40s, had arrived into Japan without any symptoms of the virus, but was then later hospitalised following difficulties with his breathing.
They were tested and were then taken to Japan’s National Institute of Infectious Diseases, which then confirmed that these cases on COVID-19 were a new mutated variant of the virus. Japan’s Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare then reported this new strain of the novel coronavirus to the World Health Organization.
This comes after Brian Pinker, an 82-year-old dialysis patient has become the first to receive the newly approved Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine for COVID-19, after Over half a million doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine were made ready for use on Monday.
Available information about the new strain discovered in Japan is currently restricted to its genetic make-up and it is not yet possible to determine how infectious the new coronavirus variant truly is.
It is also not possible to know yet whether the vaccines which are being rolled out across the world will be effective in combating it.
Japan has recently seen more than 7,000 new cases a day, with Tokyo´s daily cases topping 2,000.
The heads of the Osaka, Kyoto and Hyogo prefectures within central Japan have relayed their request to Yasutoshi Nishimura, the minister in charge of the nation’s coronavirus measures, in an online conference call on Saturday, according to Osaka Gov. Hirofumi Yoshimura.