Japon detects new strain of coronavirus; different from British and South-African.

The infected patients are two men and two women, who returned to Brazil earlier this month.

TOKYO Japan (Agencies) – Health authorities in Japan have detected a new strain of Covid-19, apparently different from those detected in the United Kingdom and South Africa, in several people who returned to the country earlier this month from Brazil.

The infected patients are two men and two women, aged between adolescence and quarantine, who tested positive for Covid upon their arrival at Tokyo’s Haneda airport on Jan. 2 from the Amazon, the Ministry of Health, and the National Center for Infectious Diseases (NIID) reported.

Three had shown symptoms such as difficulty breathing, fever, and sore throat.

Although the detected variant “shares similarities with the strains that are of concern” recently caught in the United Kingdom and South Africa, this particular type does not appear to have been identified before, explained the NIID in a statement that was echoed by local media on Monday.

The Japanese infectious disease center reached this conclusion after sequencing the virus’ genes. It detected 12 mutations and noted that for the moment, “it is difficult to determine the infectivity, pathogenicity or effects on testing methods and vaccines,” and recommended keeping affected patients in isolation.

The Ministry of Health has reported the strain to both the Brazilian authorities and the World Health Organization.

The number of confirmed infections in Japan with newly detected and highly virulent strains stands at 34, including three nationwide infections. Two of them linked to a person who traveled to the United Kingdom reported on Sunday.

The two new cases of the British strain involve two people who had dinner with a man who had traveled to the United Kingdom and was allegedly quarantined after testing positive.

About ten people attended the meal, according to details gathered by the Nikkei newspaper.