First local transmissions of omicron confirmed in Japan
The first known local transmissions of the omicron variant in Japan were confirmed in Osaka on Wednesday.
Osaka Gov. Hirofumi Yoshimura said that the cases were reported among a family of three who had no record of traveling overseas, according to The Associated Press.
“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 reportedly said.
Yoshimura said that COVID-19 restrictions, including capacity and time limits in eateries, will remain in effect in an effort to curb the risk of infection during the holiday season, the AP noted.
Nearly 80 of the omicron cases previously reported in Japan were linked to people who recently arrived from airports or people connected to them, the news service added.
Japan’s health minister, Shigeyuki Goto, reportedly said in response to the new cases that the government is taking every step possible to mitigate the spread of the virus.
Earlier this month, the country reinstated strict border controls in an effort to protect against the spread of omicron.
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida also confirmed on Tuesday that the border controls will be upheld, with entry to the country restricted, until more is known about the omicron variant.