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HOME  > Past issues  > 2021 January 13 - 19  > Genomic analysis promptly needed on coronavirus variants in Japan
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2021 January 13 - 19 [POLITICS]

Genomic analysis promptly needed on coronavirus variants in Japan

January 13, 2021
Regarding the inflow of a new strain of the coronavirus into Japan, Japanese Communist Party Secretariat Head Koike Akira on January 12 at a press conference in the Diet building said that Japan should immediately suspend new entries from all countries and carry out a gene analysis on coronavirus variants and mutations without delay.

The new mutant strain of the virus was detected on four passengers who arrived on January 2 from Brazil and are now in airport quarantine.

Koike said, "Brazil is the third country after the U.S. and India in the number of COVID-19 cases recorded. Surprisingly, entry from that country is still unrestricted." This underscores the need to deny permission to enter the country in addition to more thorough border enforcement measures.

The new coronavirus variant found in the U.K. is said to be up to 70% more transmissible. So far, there are no reports that the new strain is more deadly or that vaccinations may not be effective.

However, Koike pointed out, "Highly transmissible means a definite increase in the number of patients. More patients will lead to a possible increase in the number of serious cases, making Japanese hospitals and healthcare systems further overwhelmed."

He said, "Japan should also begin a gene analysis without delay in order to figure out the spread of coronavirus variants at home."

According to the government, at present, 34 cases were found to be infected with new mutants in Japan.

Koike said, "It must be more than that. Given that the spread of the new strain in the U.K. started in September of last year, variant strains may already be spreading in Japan."

Koike said that the U.K. has already analyzed 140,000 samples out of about 1.4 million cases in order to grasp the situation of mutant strains, adding, "The number of tested people itself is low in Japan in the first place. So, Japan must significantly increase the number of PCR tests and find out what is going on with new coronavirus variants and mutations in Japan."
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