• Staff report, Jiji

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Japan on Wednesday reported 15 new cases of the omicron variant of the coronavirus detected at airport screening sites, TV Asahi reported, bringing the total number of cases found in the country to 32.

The country has not detected any community transmissions, but the health ministry on Saturday said it had confirmed the first omicron case to pass through quarantine inspection upon arrival from abroad.

Japan closed its borders earlier this month to all arrivals except Japanese citizens and foreign residents amid the spread of the variant, which is believed to be highly transmissible.

Meanwhile, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government reported 29 new cases of COVID-19, up by eight from a week before, with the daily tally below 30 for the 34th consecutive day.

No new deaths among COVID-19 patients were reported in the capital, while the seven-day moving average of daily new infections stood at 19.3, up from 15.9 a week earlier.

Three people were recognized as severely ill COVID-19 patients under the metropolitan government’s criteria, down by one from the previous day.

The health ministry said Wednesday the nationwide number of seriously ill COVID-19 patients was unchanged from Tuesday at 27.

On Tuesday, Japan confirmed 144 new COVID-19 cases and one death linked to the virus.

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