Japan on Alert for Community Infections with Omicron Variant

Society Lifestyle Politics

Tokyo, Dec. 6 (Jiji Press)--Japan's health ministry has raised the level of caution against possible community infections with the omicron variant of the novel coronavirus, tightening border controls and launching screening tests for the new variant.

Two cases of infection with the omicron variant that have been found in Japan were both detected in airport quarantine checks. But experts say they cannot rule out the possibility of the variant being found in communities.

Omicron infections have been confirmed for a Namibian diplomat and a man who arrived from Peru. After both tested positive for the coronavirus in checks at Narita International Airport near Tokyo, the omicron variant was detected from them in genetic analysis by the National Institute of Infectious Diseases.

Under the health ministry's previous rules, airplane passengers seated in the same row as an infected individual as well as those in two rows immediately in front and behind had been regarded as close contacts.

Effective on Tuesday, when the Namibian diplomat's infection with the omicron variant was confirmed, the ministry revised the policy and designated all passengers of the plane carrying an omicron-positive individual.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press