Variants Make Up Over 90 Pct of New COVID-19 Cases in Japan

Society Lifestyle Politics

Tokyo, May 13 (Jiji Press)--Variants with the N501Y mutation are now estimated to be responsible for over 90 pct of new cases of novel coronavirus infection in Japan, it has been reported to a meeting of a health ministry advisory panel.

The estimate, presented on Wednesday, was compiled by the National Institute of Infectious Diseases. The N501Y variants, including one originating from Britain, are more contagious than the original strain and may be 1.4 times more likely to cause severe COVID-19 symptoms, according to experts.

The NIID has found 70 domestic cases of infection with the coronavirus variant spreading widely in India. The Indian variant will be put under stricter monitoring as a mutant strain requiring caution.

At a meeting on Wednesday, the advisory panel adopted a view that infection situations differ widely among regions in Japan. Infections are expected to spread further in Hokkaido, northernmost Japan, while new cases have been on a declining trend in the Kansai western region, including Osaka Prefecture.

The panel stressed its stance of keeping a close watch on the situation in Tokyo. There has not been "a noticeable rise" in new infection cases in Tokyo, but "we are still unable to judge that the number has stopped increasing" in the Japanese capital, it said.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press