Japan has 1st omicron case who passed quarantine inspection

TOKYO (Jiji Press) — Japan has confirmed the first case of the omicron coronavirus variant who passed a quarantine inspection conducted upon arrival from abroad, the health ministry said Saturday.

A foreign national in his 40s living in Gifu Prefecture, central Japan, tested positive for the strain, becoming the 13th confirmed omicron case in the country, according to the ministry and the Gifu prefectural government.

“We don’t think he was infected through community transmission,” a ministry official said.

The man arrived at Narita International Airport near Tokyo from Sri Lanka on Dec. 4. He tested negative in the quarantine inspection at the airport.

He is a close contact of Japan’s fourth omicron case, who was found positive Wednesday after arriving from Nigeria, because they were on the same flight.

The man entered hospital after developing a fever during self-isolation at home in the prefecture.

Japan obliges arrivals from southern African and some other countries to stay quarantined for three to 10 days at designated facilities. But Sri Lanka is not among the countries.

The man returned to his home on the next day of his arrival on a car driven by an acquaintance living in a different prefecture. The man, still hospitalized, began to report a fever Tuesday, but the symptom disappeared Saturday.

The acquaintance was judged to be a close contact of the man and transferred to an accommodation facility for people infected with the novel coronavirus. Japan requires all close contacts of omicron cases to be isolated at such facilities.