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Japan: COVID-19 cases in Tokyo rise as new strain found

Capital already under state of emergency to contain spread of novel disease

Riyaz Ul Khaliq   | 11.01.2021
Japan: COVID-19 cases in Tokyo rise as new strain found


With 1,219 new infections, COVID-19 cases in Japan's capital Tokyo crossed 76,000 on Monday as the country detected a coronavirus variant different from that in Britain and South Africa.

According to public broadcaster NHK, the Health Ministry said the new strain was found in four people who arrived at Tokyo's Haneda Airport earlier this month.

The infected are in their teens to their 40s, and all of them had stayed in the state of Amazonas in Brazil.

The daily tally in the metropolitan has exceeded 1,000 for seven days in a row, and the total number of infections now stands at 76,163.

Greater Tokyo is already under a state of emergency since Jan. 7, as according to Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, "the situation has become increasingly troubling."

Bars and restaurants have been ordered to shorten working hours, while people have been asked to refrain from making unnecessary trips outdoors.

The measures will be kept in place until Feb. 7, and besides the capital, they cover Kanagawa, Saitama and Chiba prefectures.

Earlier, five people returning from the UK tested positive for a new COVID-19 variant that is spreading in Britain. The new strain is said to be more contagious, however, there is yet no evidence if it is more deadly.

Japan has so far reported 290,985 virus cases, and 3,870 related deaths, according to figures by Johns Hopkins University. The government has temporarily banned the entry of non-resident foreign nationals to contain the spread of the infection.

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