Coronavirus

dpa/GNA – Two more people were confirmed on Saturday to have been infected with a new coronavirus variant identified in Britain, while Tokyo posted a record 949 new coronavirus infections, local media reported.

The two are a pilot who stayed in Britain and one of his family members, broadcaster NHK reported. They have been hospitalized in Tokyo, according to the report.

The Health Ministry on Friday reported its first cases of a new coronavirus variant identified in Britain.

Five people were sent into quarantine after their infections were confirmed upon their arrival from Britain between December 18 and December 21, Health Minister Norihisa Tamura told a news conference late Friday.

A man in his 60s experienced fatigue while the other four had no symptoms, the Health Ministry said in a statement.

The five arrived before Japan began on Thursday to impose a temporary ban on foreign visitors from Britain.

Currently only Japanese citizens and foreign nationals with resident status are allowed to enter the country. They are required to go into quarantine for 14 days after arrival.

Meanwhile, Tokyo experienced another massive spike as the government urged the public to refrain from social gatherings during the new year holiday.

The figure exceeded the previous single-day record of 888 on Thursday, and comes a day after Japan reported a national record of 3,823 new infections, marking the highest daily increase for the third day in a row.

Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga called on the public on Friday to spend a “quiet” year-end and new year period as Japan has been hit by a third wave of new coronavirus infections since-mid November.

Japan has so far escaped a virus outbreak on the scale seen in Europe and the United States, with a total of more than 215,000 known infections and about 3,200 Covid-19-related deaths.

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