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11 people infected with new coronavirus variant in suspected east Japan cluster

In this March 1, 2019 file photo, the Saitama Prefectural Government building is seen in the city of Saitama. (Mainichi)

Eleven people in Saitama Prefecture north of Tokyo have been infected with a new coronavirus variant found in Britain though none of them have a history of travel to the United Kingdom, the prefectural government announced on Feb. 5.

    Ten of the infected people, including six children aged under 10, were all connected to a facility for children under that age. The other infected person was a woman in her 30s living with a male family member in his 30s who had already tested positive for the coronavirus.

    The Saitama Prefectural Government is investigating the new cases on the assumption that there has been a cluster infection at the facility.

    The Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare similarly suspects that a cluster of the new virus strain occurred at the facility, but does not think it is directly related to a separate cluster of the variant uncovered at a workplace in Saitama Prefecture in January.

    None of the 10 people linked to the facility were found to have had contact with patients infected with the new virus strain, the prefectural government said. Sixty-one people are thought to have come into close contact with the 10, and prefectural officials are pushing forward with testing.

    (Japanese original by Ayako Hiramoto, Saitama Bureau, and Naomi Hayashi, Lifestyle and Medical News Department)

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