JAPAN has discovered a new terrifying munt strain of Covid in passengers who flew into Tokyo from Brazil.
Authorities have alerted the World Health Organistion (WHO) about the new coronavirus variant, which was described as similar to the highly infectious bugs found in the UK and South Africa.
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The four passengers landed at Haneda Airport in Tokyo on Saturday, January 2, from Brazil and tested positive for Covid, reports Nikkei Asia.
They were described as men and women aged from their teens to 40s, took tests at the airport which came back positive.
All of them were detained in the airport quarantine.
Three of them developed symptoms that included breathing difficulties, a fever and a sore throat.
One man in his 40s had arrived in Japan without any symptoms but was later rushed to hospital as he struggled to breathe, according to Bloomberg.
'STRUGGLING TO BREATHE'
Japan’s National Institute of Infectious Diseases (NIID) confirmed it was the mutated variant.
The Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare reported the new strain to the WHO.
But it is not yet possible to know whether it is resistant to the vaccines being rolled out across the world.
Japan has recently seen more than 7,000 new cases a day, with Tokyo´s daily cases topping 2,000.
The country has confirmed more than 270,000 cases, including over 3,900 deaths.
Japan's state of emergency, which kicked in Friday for Tokyo and nearby Kanagawa, Saitama and China, centers around asking restaurants and bars to close at 8pm. It lasts for a month but can be extended.
The new, highly infectious, UK strain was discovered in early December in Kent and London and is thought to be driving the latest Covid wave.
Then a fortnight later it emerged that an even more infectious strain had been detected in South Africa.
The country is battling a resurgence of the disease, driven by the variant.
It has recorded more than 1.2 million reported cases, including 32,824 deaths.
Many hospitals are reaching capacity, yet the numbers of those infected are expected to continue rising, according to health experts.
UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock said he was “incredibly worried” about the South African variant of coronavirus, called 501.V2.
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