Japan places new variant at 2nd-highest warning level

TOKYO (Jiji Press) — The National Institute of Infectious Diseases said Friday it has placed a new coronavirus variant discovered in South Africa at the second-highest warning level of its three-tier variant alert.

The institute designated the omicron variant as a variant of interest. No infection case involving the variant has been confirmed in the country.

The omicron variant is said to reduce the effect of vaccines. The institute plans to conduct genome analysis of the variant and prepare for polymerase chain reaction tests for it.

The highly contagious delta variant is on the institute’s list of variants of concern, its highest alert level.