A new strain of coronavirus was discovered in Japan after four travellers arriving from Brazil’s Amazonas were found infected with it, Japan’s Health Ministry said on Sunday.
An official from Japan’s health ministry said that studies are underway to check the efficacy of vaccines against the newfound variant, which is different from the strains found in Britain and South Africa.
“At the moment, there is no proof showing the new variant found in those from Brazil is high in infectiousness,” head of the National Institute of Infectious Diseases, Takaji Wakita, said during a health ministry briefing.
As per Japan’s authorities, 12 mutations have been detected in the new variant, one of which has already been identified in the variants found in the United Kingdom and in South Africa. “It implies in a potential higher virus infectiousness,” the authorities said.
All four travellers are in quarantine at Tokyo’s airport, as per the Brazil Health Ministry.
Meanwhile, after witnessing a spike in coronavirus cases, Japan declared a state of emergency in Tokyo on Thursday. The country’s overall case tally has surpassed 289,000, with 4,061 deaths, as per public broadcaster NHK.