Friday, January 28, 2022

Japan confirms first case of new variant of coronavirus

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

Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno said the patient, a 30-year-old man, tested positive upon arrival at Narita Airport on Sunday, was isolated and is being treated in a hospital. Matsuno did not name his nationality, citing privacy concerns.

A genome analysis at the National Institute for Infectious Diseases confirmed on Tuesday that it was infected with a new variant that was first detected in South Africa.

His fellow passengers and passengers in the nearest seats were identified and turned over to Japanese health authorities for follow-up. Japanese media reported that two of the patient’s relatives tested negative and were quarantined at a government facility near Narita Airport.

Matsuno said the government will maintain strict border controls and expand its ability to conduct genome analysis of the new variant.

Japan announced on Monday that it will ban all foreign visitors from Tuesday as an extreme precaution against this option until roughly the end of the year. The government also requires Japanese citizens and foreigners holding a residence permit to be quarantined for 14 days after entry.

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

Nation World News Desk
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