By Sola Ogundipe
A new mutant strain of coronavirus has been discovered in Japan. It has similarities to that of the highly-contagious variants in the UK and South Africa.
The mutation, which has not been spotted before, was found in four people who arrived on a flight from Brazil.
A report in Nikkei Asia said the passengers landed at Haneda Airport in Tokyo on Saturday, January 2.
The group comprising men and women took tests at the airport which came back positive.
Three of those who tested positive for the virus displayed symptoms including breathing difficulties, a fever and a sore throat.
According to Bloomberg, one man in his 40s had arrived in Japan without symptoms but was later hospitalised as he struggled to breathe.
Their tests were taken to the National Institute of Infectious Diseases which confirmed it was the mutated variant.
Japan’s Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare reported the new strain to the World Health Organisation.
Information about the new strain is currently restricted to its genetic make-up and it is not possible yet to determine how infectious it 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.