Japan on Wednesday confirmed its first known local transmissions of the new Omicron variant of the coronavirus in Osaka, a sign it is already making its way in the country.
The family of three in Osaka had no record of travelling overseas and their infections could not be traced, Osaka Gov. Hirofumi Yoshimura said.
The three are the first known cases of community transmission of the highly infectious Omicron variant in Japan, Yoshimura said. “I believe they only happened to be detected and we must take steps on the assumption that there already are other cases of community transmission,” he said.
Yoshimura said current restrictions on eateries in Osaka will remain in place, including a limit of four people per table for a maximum of two hours, to minimize risks during the yearend holiday season, when coronavirus infections surged last year.
About 80 previous Omicron cases have been identified in Japan, but all involved people who tested positive upon entry at airports or those linked to them, government officials have said.
Health Minister Shigeyuki Goto, responding to the confirmation of the Osaka cases, said the government will do its utmost to prevent a further spread of the variant.
Japan eased its border controls in November, but quickly reinstated a ban on most new foreign entrants after Omicron was first identified in South Africa.
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said Tuesday that he plans to keep the border controls, among the world’s most stringent, in place until more details about the Omicron variant are known.
Kishida said Japan is also tightening quarantine rules for those who come in close contact with Omicron patients, requiring 14 days of isolation at designated facilities instead of the previous self-isolation at home.
He also announced plans to accelerate booster shots of Covid-19 vaccines, which started with medical workers in December.
Russian attack on a nine-storey building in Odesa kills at least five people, including a child, says Ukrainian minister
The Chilean’s round of 64 saw him move two shots clear as Dubai-based Meronk slipped to be tied fifth
Struff and Griekspoor overcame the challenge of Ivan Dodig of Croatia and Austin Krajicek of the US 6-4 4-6 10/6 in the final
Since its inception in 2009, Big Bad Wolf has evolved into global movement, touring 37 cities in 15 countries and territories
Another protocol allows referees to create captain-only zones and cooling-off areas in the event of mass confrontations
The ship was carrying more than 41,000 tonnes of fertiliser when it came under attack last month
Among the worst hit by the removals is 'Matrimony.com' which has seen more than 150 of its apps dropped from the Play Store