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Japan faces alarming spike in COVID variant cases

Government steps up monitoring as Philippine strain arrives

 Cells infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus. (Photo courtesy of NIAID)

TOKYO/KOBE – Japan has seen a rapid increase in infections of coronavirus variants, with confirmed cases jumping 60% over a single week, complicating the work of a government scrambling to contain the pandemic ahead of the Summer Olympics.

A total of 271 cases of variant strains -- considered to be more infectious -- were confirmed in Japan as of Tuesday, according to the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare. This is up from 165 cases from a week ago.

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