Japan confirms first case of new coronavirus variant

Nov 30, 2021, 12:31 AM | Updated: 11:03 am
Passengers walk at the lobby for the international arrivals at Kansai International Airport in Osak...

Passengers walk at the lobby for the international arrivals at Kansai International Airport in Osaka, western Japan, Tuesday, Nov. 30, 2021. Japan confirmed on Tuesday its first case of the new omicron coronavirus variant, a visitor who recently arrived from Namibia, an official said.(Yukie Nishizawa/Kyodo News via AP)

(Yukie Nishizawa/Kyodo News via AP)

TOKYO (AP) — Japan confirmed on Tuesday its first case of the new omicron coronavirus variant, a Namibian diplomat who recently arrived from his country, officials said.

Chief Cabinet Secretary said the patient, a man in his 30s, tested positive upon arrival at Narita airport on Sunday and was isolated and is being treated at a hospital.

Later Tuesday, Health Minister Shigeyuki Goto identified the patient as a diplomat from Namibia.

A genome analysis at the National Institute of Infectious Diseases confirmed Tuesday that he was infected with the new variant, which was first identified in South Africa.

The patient was initially showing no symptoms, but now has a fever, Goto said. Health ministry officials said he received his second Moderna vaccine in July.

A total of 70 other passengers, including the patient’s two family members on the same flight, were identified as having close contact, but they have all tested negative and are self-isolating while being monitored remotely by the Japanese health authorities. If they do not cooperate, their names will be released as a penalty, Goto said.

Ten crew members of the plane did not enter Japan and continued their flight to a next destination.

The 40 Tokyo residents identified as having close contact are being required to quarantine at facilities designated by the the capital’s metropolitan government instead of their homes to ensure anti-virus measures, Governor Yuriko Koike told reporters.

Matsuno said the government will maintain strict border controls and will step up its capacity to conduct genome analyses of the new variant.

Japan announced on Monday that it will ban all foreign visitors beginning Tuesday as an emergency precaution against the variant, tentatively through the end of the year. The government is also requiring Japanese nationals and foreigners with resident permits to quarantine 14 days following entry.

The World Health Organization warned Monday that the global risk from the omicron variant is “very high” based on the early evidence, saying it could lead to surges with “severe consequences.”

Despite the lack of information about the new variant, Japan will start giving booster shots Wednesday as scheduled to those who have completed vaccination eight months ago or earlier, officials said.

The new variant scare comes just as Japan was expanding its business and social activity following the sharp decline of new daily cases. So far, Japan has only re-tightened its border control. Japan reported just 76 new cases nationwide for an accumulated total of 1.72 million cases and 18,351 deaths.

On Tuesday, Japan’s Self Defense Force closed down its mass inoculation center, which was launched in late May to help bolster a nationwide vaccination drive. About 77% of the Japanese have been fully vaccinated.

___

Associated Press journalist Chisato Tanaka contributed to this report.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

A pedestrian makes his way in front of a gated Warren E. Burger Federal Building as jury selection ...
Associated Press

The 18 jurors picked for federal trial over Floyd’s killing

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Eighteen people were picked to hear the federal case against three former Minneapolis officers who are charged with violating George Floyd’s civil rights during the May 2020 arrest that led to the Black man’s death. Twelve jurors will deliberate and six are alternates. Most of the jurors appear to be […]
20 hours ago
Workers bag cardboard and other discarded items at a Union Pacific railroad site on Thursday, Jan. ...
Associated Press

Governor vows state help in cracking down on LA rail theft

LOS ANGELES (AP) — California Gov. Gavin Newsom is promising statewide coordination as law enforcement and prosecutors go after thieves who have been raiding cargo containers aboard trains near downtown Los Angeles for months, leaving the tracks blanketed with discarded boxes. The governor on Thursday joined a cleanup crew from the state Department of Transportation […]
20 hours ago
This combination of book cover images shows "The Love Songs of W.E.B. DuBois" by Honorée Fanonne J...
Associated Press

Whitehead, Jeffers among Book Critics Circle nominees

NEW YORK (AP) — Colson Whitehead’s “Harlem Shuffle,” Honorée Fanonne Jeffers’ “The Love Songs of W.E.B. DuBois” and a debut story collection by Anthony Veasna So, a promising writer who died before his book was published, are among this year’s nominees for National Book Critics Circle awards. Other nominees range from Torrey Peters’ acclaimed first […]
20 hours ago
Pennsylvania's Lia Thomas is shown during the playing of the national anthem before a swim meet, Sa...
Associated Press

Penn pledges to work with NCAA, support transgender swimmer

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — The University of Pennsylvania said it will work with the NCAA under its newly adopted standards for transgender athletes. Swimmer Lia Thomas, who competed for the men’s team at Penn before transitioning, has qualified to compete in March at the 2022 NCAA swimming and diving championships. She is set to race in […]
20 hours ago
FILE - A man walks by the logo on a Toyota car at a showroom in Tokyo on Oct. 18, 2021. The shortag...
Associated Press

Toyota production in Japan hit by parts crunch from COVID-19

TOKYO (AP) — The shortage of parts caused by the coronavirus pandemic is further denting production at Toyota, Japan’s top automaker. Production at 11 plants in Japan will be halted Friday, Saturday and next Monday, Toyota Motor Corp. said. That comes on top of reductions planned for February that were announced earlier. Those reduction will […]
20 hours ago
Associated Press

Yemen loses internet connection after Saudi-led airstrike

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Yemen lost its connection to the internet nationwide early Friday after Saudi-led airstrikes targeted a site in the contested city of Hodeida, an advocacy group said, plunging the war-torn nation offline. NetBlocks said the disruption began around 1 a.m. local and affected TeleYemen, the state-owned monopoly that controls internet […]
20 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Canvas Annuity

Annuity basics: how to retire with a guaranteed paycheck for life

Does the thought of retirement fill you with stress or with happiness? Everyone wants to spend their retirement in a way that brings them the most joy, whether that’s traveling the world or spending extra time at home with grandkids.
(Facebook Photo/NHTSA)...
Sweet James

Upcoming holiday season is peak time for DUI arrests

The holiday season may be the most wonderful time of the year, but it’s also the most dangerous time of the year to be driving. That’s why it’s important to remember to call Sweet James Accident Attorneys if you’re injured or arrested because of a DUI accident.
...
PNC BANK

How your family can explore the Musical Instrument Museum

Whether you want to spend a day with family, do crafts with kids at home, or have an adult night out, the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix has options. As the world’s only global musical instrument museum, MIM offers interactive and immersive exhibits to foster an appreciation of different cultures and their instruments. “A visit […]
Japan confirms first case of new coronavirus variant