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Five things Asia needs to know about new coronavirus variant

Mutation potentially 70% more infectious; countries bar entrants from Britain

A scientist conducts research on a coronavirus vaccine at a laboratory at biotechnology company BIOCAD in Saint Petersburg, Russia, on May 20.    © Reuters

TOKYO -- Just as the world was beginning to hope for a resumption of travel and other pre-pandemic activities, thanks to the rollout of coronavirus vaccines, the appearance of a new variant has sparked fresh fears and uncertainty.

The new strain is potentially 70% more contagious than earlier ones and could prolong the coronavirus pandemic.

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