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Tokyo, Dec 25 (EFE) .- The Japanese authorities announced today that they have detected for the first time several cases of the new strain of coronavirus carried by travelers who arrived in the country from the United Kingdom.

The information was provided by the Minister of Health, Norihisa Tamura, who said that the cases were located when passengers were checked at two Japanese airports between December 18 and 21, and added that the five affected have been isolated.

Tamura pointed out in a press conference that two of the cases appeared in the analyzes they made of passengers at Haneda airport, in Tokyo, on December 21, and the other three in Kansai, in Osaka prefecture, the 18 of this month.

All five passengers tested positive for COVID-19 upon arrival in Japan, and subsequent tests confirmed that they were carriers of the new strain. 

The minister did not provide the identity or nationality of those infected with the new variant of coronavirus, apparently much more contagious than the one that emerged late last year in the Chinese city of Wuhan.

Four of the five people infected with this variant of coronavirus had no symptoms.

The cases were detected by analyzing the tests of 68 people with a positive result in the analyzes carried out in laboratories in the country between December 12 and 22.

Japan has banned the arrival of foreign nationals from the United Kingdom since Thursday, but that ban does not affect Japanese who have been in that country or foreign residents in Japan.

As announced today, that same restriction will apply from this Saturday to South Africa, where the new strain has also been detected.

According to the latest official count, in Japan some 215,000 people have been infected with the coronavirus, with 3,197 deaths. 

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