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Japan has detected yet another new variant of COVID-19, one that appears to have arrived with travelers from Brazil, its Health Ministry said Sunday.
The mutation was detected in four people who arrived at Tokyo’s Haneda airport on Jan. 2 after traveling from Brazil’s Amazonas state, including a man having breathing difficulties and another with a fever, officials said.
The newest variant appears to be different from the highly infections strains being blamed for an explosion in cases in Britain and South Africa, the ministry said.
“At the moment, there is no proof showing the new variant found in those from Brazil is high in infectiousness,” Takaji Wakita, head of the National Institute of Infectious Diseases, told a health ministry briefing.
Studies are already underway into the efficacy of vaccines against the new variant, the ministry said.
Japan has already declared a state of emergency for Tokyo and three prefectures neighboring the capital after an explosion of cases.
The nation has so far had almost 289,000 confirmed cases, with 3,850 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data.
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