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Japan likely records local transmission of UK COVID variant

Three of four people infected did not travel abroad or meet those who did

A medical worker wearing a protective suit conducts a simulation for a polymerase chain reaction, or PCR, test at the Narita International Airport PCR Center, east of Tokyo, on Nov. 2.   © Reuters

TOKYO -- Japan is highly likely to have recorded community transmission of a COVID-19 variant spreading in the U.K., the country's health ministry said Monday, as it confirmed for the first time multiple cases from people with no recent travel history abroad.

The Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare said it found the strain in four people, both male and female. Three had no history of travel to the U.K. or contact with travelers from abroad, the ministry added.

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