Japan records first ‘double mutant’ coronavirus variant cases

Tokyo, Apr 23 (EFE).- Japan detected for the first time five infections of the new “double mutant” variant of the coronavirus initially identified in India, local media reported Friday.

These are the first cases of the B.1.617 coronavirus variant registered in Japan, discovered last month in India. It is considered more contagious and partly responsible for the largest wave of infections the country faces, having exceeded 300,000 daily infections on Thursday.

Japanese government Spokesman Katsunobu Kato said authorities are taking “extensive measures” to prevent infections, including the collection of genomic information on the virus and “the reinforcement and surveillance of border controls,” at a Thursday press conference.

Since December Japan has closed its borders to foreign visitors and only allows the entry of Japanese citizens or foreigners with resident status.

The country faced a fourth wave of infections for weeks, leading the government to declare a new state of emergency in Tokyo and three other regions, the most affected by infections.

This measure, expected to be formally announced Friday, will lead to the temporary closure of businesses such as bars, restaurants and shopping centers, in addition to prohibiting the entry of spectators to mass events such as sports competitions. EFE


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