• Jiji, Kyodo, staff report

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The Aichi Prefectural Government announced Sunday that two women were confirmed to have been infected with the omicron variant of the coronavirus, the first such cases reported in the prefecture.

A mother in her 40s and her daughter between the age of 10 and 19 live together and have no history of recent overseas travel, prefectural government officials said, adding that they regard the cases as being community-acquired.

With the first case of omicron having been confirmed in the Kyushu region the previous day, concerns are growing over the further spread of the variant across the nation as more people travel during the New Year’s holidays.

The Fukuoka Prefectural Government confirmed Saturday that a man in his 20s has contracted the omicron variant of the coronavirus. The case is believed to have been community-acquired, as the infection route is unknown, according to the prefectural government.

The man has no recent record of overseas travel, but visited the prefectures of Osaka, Kyoto and Okayama over the three days through Dec. 20. Community-acquired omicron cases have already been confirmed in Osaka and Kyoto.

Six people, including relatives of the man, have been designated as close contacts, the prefectural government said, adding that all of them have tested negative for the coronavirus via PCR tests.

The man had a fever of 39.5 degrees Celsius on Wednesday. Later, a genome analysis confirmed his infection was with omicron. He is unvaccinated against COVID-19 and is now hospitalized, though his condition is improving.

Following the confirmation of the omicron case, the Fukuoka government began offering free coronavirus screenings at five locations in the prefecture Sunday for anyone hoping to get tested.

Hiroomi Tanaka, 48, who runs a food stall in the Nakasu entertainment district in the city of Fukuoka, said he is worried that people who had finally been returning to the area following a long period of restricted business hours might disappear again.

On Sunday, a Nara Prefecture woman in her 20s was confirmed to have been infected with omicron, the first reported case of the highly transmissible variant in the prefecture. Prefectural government officials said it is unlikely to be community-acquired as she is a close contact of an omicron patient found on a flight that arrived at Haneda Airport from the United States. She has been vaccinated twice.

On Saturday in Kyoto, four more people, ranging in age from their 40s to 70s, were found to have contracted the omicron variant. None of them have been abroad. One of the four was a close contact of a person infected with the variant. The other three are community-acquired cases.

All four people have been vaccinated twice and they are experiencing mild symptoms.

In Osaka, two more community-acquired omicron cases were confirmed, both in men in their 20s.

Six people related to one of them, including relatives, were recognized as close contacts with the infected man and they will undergo PCR tests.

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