Japan on Sunday reported that four people who had arrived in Tokyo from Brazil were found to be infected with a new variant of the coronavirus.
The four passengers, who landed at Tokyo’s Haneda Airport on January 2 from the state of Amazonas, Brazil, tested positive after spending time in the airport in quarantine, Japan’s Health Ministry announced.
Takaji Wakita, head of the National Institute of Infectious Diseases, said the variant was different from those already spreading in Britain and South Africa, Kyodo News reported.
The institute reported that there was no evidence at present that the new strain was more contagious.
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Of the four, a man in his 40s had been hospitalized after his breathing difficulties worsened, a woman in her 30s complained of a sore throat and headaches, and a male teenager developed a fever.
On Thursday, Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga declared a monthlong state of emergency for Tokyo and neighbouring prefectures Chiba, Kanagawa and Saitama, which took effect Friday.
Japan is scheduled to host the Olympics and Paralympics this summer, having been forced to delay the Games by a year because of the pandemic.