All Saturday dailies reported on the Health Ministry’s announcement on Friday that a Tokyo girl under 10 years old has tested positive for the UK strain of the novel coronavirus, saying that this was probably the first case in the nation’s capital of community transmission of the variant since she has not traveled overseas or been in close contact with anyone who has. The girl apparently got the virus from a male in his 40s with whom she had been in close contact. This individual has not traveled abroad or been in close contact with anyone who has either.
Since the girl was the only person who had the UK strain among a selected group of 1,453 virus carriers in Tokyo, the ministry reportedly suspects that the spread of the new strain is extremely limited in the nation’s capital. Sunday’s Nikkei wrote that although Prime Minister Suga said at the Diet on Friday that the GOJ is paying close attention to the potential spread of emerging strains, genome analysis has only been conducted on 4% of virus carriers lately because of limited testing capacity at the National Institute of Infectious Diseases. The daily stressed the importance of tapping commercial testing firms to detect new variant carriers without delay. Kyodo reported that in response to a GOJ request, airline companies have begun conducting PCR tests of every pilot and cabin crewmember on flights from countries and regions subject to the COVID-19 travel ban in order to prevent the further infiltration of new strains.