Japan’s Ministry of Health said on Sunday that another new variant of COVID-19 had been discovered in Japan, which appeared to have arrived with travelers from Brazil.
Officials said the mutation was found in four people who arrived at Tokyo’s Haneda Airport on January 2 after departing from the Amazonian state of Brazil, including one man with breathing difficulties and another with fever.
The ministry stated that the latest variant appears to be different from the highly infectious strain accused of exploding in cases in the UK and South Africa.
Takada Koji, director of the National Institute of Infectious Diseases of the United States, said in a notification from the Ministry of Health: “At present, there is no evidence that the new variants discovered in Brazil are highly infectious.”
The ministry said that research on the vaccine efficacy of this new variant is already underway.
After the surge in cases, Japan has declared a state of emergency in Tokyo and the three prefectures adjacent to the capital.
According to data from Johns Hopkins University, so far, nearly 289,000 cases have been confirmed across the United States and 3,850 people have died.