New variant of coronavirus discovered in travelers from Brazil and Japan

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A new variant of the coronavirus has been detected in four travelers from the Brazilian state of Amazonas, Japan’s health ministry said on Sunday, in the latter case the pandemic virus is evolving.

A ministry official said studies are underway on the effectiveness of vaccines against the new variant, which differs from the highly infectious variants first discovered in Britain and South Africa which have resulted in an increase in cases .

“At this time, there is no evidence showing that the new variant found in those in Brazil is rich in infectivity,” said Takaji Wakita, director of the National Institute of Infectious Diseases, during a ministry briefing. of Health.

Of the four travelers who arrived at Haneda Airport in Tokyo on January 2, a man in his 40s had difficulty breathing, a woman in her 30s had a headache and throat pain, and a teenage man had pain. fever, while a woman’s teenage boys had no symptoms, the health ministry said.

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After seeing a sharp increase in coronavirus cases, Japan declared a state of emergency on Thursday for Tokyo and three prefectures neighboring the capital.

The cases nationwide have totaled around 289,000, with 4,061 deaths, state broadcaster NHK said.

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