Japan confirms first case of new coronavirus variant

Japan confirmed on Tuesday its first case of the new omicron coronavirus variant, a visitor who recently arrived from Namibia, an official said.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno said the patient, a man in his 30s, tested positive upon arrival at an airport on Sunday and was isolated and is being treated at a hospital.

A genome analysis confirmed Tuesday that he was infected with the new variant, which was first identified in South Africa.

Japan announced on Monday that it will ban all foreign visitors beginning Tuesday as an emergency precaution against the variant.

The World Health Organization warned Monday that the global risk from the omicron variant is “very high” based on the early evidence, saying it could lead to surges with “severe consequences.”

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