• Jiji


The health ministry Thursday reported Japan’s first case of the omicron variant of the coronavirus other than those found among new arrivals from abroad.

The variant was detected in an employee at a quarantine station for Kansai International Airport in Osaka Prefecture.

The employee in her 30s was working at an accommodation facility for coronavirus carriers, where three people with the variant had stayed, according to the ministry.

“Infection within the facility is strongly suspected,” the ministry said, adding that the employee has no recent history of overseas travel.

She had diarrhea Dec. 8 but continued to work because the symptom was mild. She took a polymerase chain reaction test Monday after showing such symptoms as coughing and fatigue during work the previous day.

She tested positive for the coronavirus in the PCR test and was later found to have the omicron strain in genomic analysis.

Her work did not involve direct contact with coronavirus carriers.

Six people were judged to be her close contacts, all of whom were working at the same accommodation facility.

The six have tested negative. None of them have developed COVID-19 symptoms.

In the facility, the area for infected people was clearly separated from the other area. Workers donned protective suits and high-performance face masks before having direct contact with infected people.

“Infection happened despite that. We take this seriously,” a ministry official said.

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