New Coronavirus Variant Found in Travellers From Brazil: Japan Government

Japan
Pedestrians wearing protective masks, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, make their way at Ginza shopping district which closed to cars on Sunday in Tokyo, Japan, January 10, 2021. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

TOKYO — A new coronavirus variant was detected in four travellers from Brazil, Japan’s Health Ministry said on Sunday, marking an advance in changes to the pandemic virus.

The new variant is different from those first found in Britain and South Africa, although the three of them share some common mutation, said Takaji Wakita, head of the National Institute of Infectious Diseases.

“I understand a new variant that is different from Britain’s and South Africa’s has been found,” Wakita told a health ministry briefing.

Characteristics of the new variant, such as how effective vaccines can be against it and how serious its symptoms can be, are being studied, a health ministry official said.

Reporting by Kiyoshi Takenaka; Editing by Lincoln Feast and William Mallard; Reuters

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