Japan’s Health Ministry says passengers who traveled from Brazil, quarantined, and tested positive for Covid-19 in early January were later found to have been infected with virus-carrying mutations that appear similar to variants of the coronavirus first seen in Britain and South Africa.
The travelers had been in the Brazilian state of Amazonas and landed at Tokyo’s Haneda airport on January 2, the ministry said in a statement Sunday. They tested positive at the airport quarantine.
The Brazilian Health Ministry said it was notified by its Japanese counterpart Saturday.
Health authorities have been concerned about new variants of the virus, like those first identified in the UK and South Africa, because they appear to be more easily transmitted.
There's no evidence that new variants of the virus are any more dangerous or can affect the efficacy of the vaccines.
Japan’s Health Ministry is not yet able to say whether the variant found in passengers from Brazil is more transmissible.