Japan detects first cases of community transmission of omicron variant

Tokyo, Dec 22 (EFE).- Japan detected its first cases of community transmission of the omicron variant of Covid-19 as three members of a family with no history of travel abroad tested positive in Osaka in the west of the country, the authorities reported Wednesday.

This is the first time that the country has detected a case of omicron with an unknown chain of transmission and in a person not arriving from abroad, since the first infection was detected at the end of November in a diplomat arriving from Namibia.

The patients are a couple in their 30 and their daughter aged below 10, who began to show symptoms between Dec.18-20, and are under hospitalization, according to Osaka Governor Hirofumi Yoshimura at a meeting on epidemic management.

Yoshimura underlined that health authorities were searching extensively for people who may have been close contacts for testing, and urged local governments to accelerate vaccination, including booster shots for older people.

Japan tightened its border restrictions following the detection of the omicron variant, suspending the arrival of new foreign residents and banning the entry of people from a dozen African countries hit hard by the strain.

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida announced on Tuesday that the country will maintain these restrictions until further notice, while studies were conducted on the transmissibility and the threat posed by the new variant. EFE


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