New coronavirus variant found in travelers from Brazil, Japan says

A new variant of the coronavirus was discovered in four travelers from the Brazilian state of Amazonas, the Japanese Ministry of Health announced on Sunday. The pandemic virus has been evolving recently.

A ministerial official said studies are underway on the effectiveness of vaccines against the new variant, which differs from highly infectious variants first found in the UK and South Africa, which in some cases have increased it.

“At the moment there is no evidence that the new variant is highly infectious in Brazil,” Takaji Wakita, head of the National Institute for Infectious Diseases, told a briefing from the Ministry of Health.

Of the four travelers who arrived at Tokyo’s Haneda Airport on January 2, a man in his forties had difficulty breathing, a woman in her thirties had a headache and sore throat, and a teenage man had a fever while a woman was in the hospital was your teenage boy showing any symptoms, said the health ministry.

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

Nationwide cases have around 289,000 with 4,061 deaths, said the public broadcaster NHK.

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