Coronavirus variants raging in areas subject to new Japan emergency – The Foreigners magazine In tokyo
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Coronavirus variants raging in areas subject to new Japan emergency

Written by on April 24, 2021

Coronavirus variants are spreading rapidly in Tokyo and other areas set to be placed under Japan’s third COVID-19 state of emergency, with the N501Y strains forecast to account for over 90% of all new infections in Tokyo and Osaka and Hyogo prefectures.

The spread of that variant has been “faster than expected,” according to one expert.

Local governments are conducting polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests for variants on some people found infected with the coronavirus.

According to the health ministry, the number of people infected with variants totaled 5,916 in 46 of the country’s 47 prefectures as of Tuesday. The figure shot up nearly 1.7-fold in a week.

The N501Y mutation has been found in British, South African and Brazilian variants. A genomic analysis showed some 95% of coronavirus variants in Japan are of British origin.

The National Institute of Infectious Diseases said the share of people infected with the N501Y variants in all coronavirus cases is estimated at roughly 30% in Tokyo and 80% in Osaka and Hyogo.

Although the proportion in Tokyo is currently relatively small, the substitution of variants for the original strain is “rapidly progressing,” a senior official with the institute said.

Coronavirus variants are also expected to spread at a rapid pace in Saitama and Okinawa prefectures.

Japan Times

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