Japan to deal flexibly with new virus variant

Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary says the government will be flexible as it implements measures necessary to prevent a new coronavirus variant found in Vietnam from entering the country.

Kato Katsunobu spoke to reporters on Monday, two days after Vietnamese authorities made an announcement.

Kato said officials at Japan's health ministry were told by their Vietnamese counterparts that a new variant was detected in four patients.

Reuters news agency quoted Vietnam's health minister as saying that his country has uncovered a new COVID-19 variant combining characteristics of the two existing variants first found in India and the UK.

Kato said he was informed that there is no evidence that the new variant has an influence on the risk of developing serious symptoms or the efficacy of vaccines.

He added that so far there have been no confirmed infections involving the new variant in Japan.

The top government spokesperson vowed to work with other countries and the World Health Organization to share and analyze information about the new variant.