TOKYO - Japanese health authorities have found more than 90 cases of a new variant of the COVID-19 virus, the government's chief spokesman said on Friday.
The mutant variant, known as E484K, has been found in 91 cases in the Kanto area of eastern Japan and in 2 cases at airports, Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobo Kato told reporters.
The variant is believed to have come from overseas but is different from those that originated in Britain and South Africa, according to an earlier report by the Mainichi newspaper which cited Japan's National Institute of Infectious Diseases.
Japan has reported 151 cases of variants from Britain, South Africa and Brazil, according to the health ministry. The nation has had more than 400,000 cases of COVID-19 with 7,194 fatalities. (Reporting by Rocky Swift; Editing by Christopher Cushing and Gerry Doyle)