A new coronavirus variant has been reported overseas, as the UK waits to hear how the Prime Minister plans to bring us out of our third lockdown.
The new strain of COVID-19 has been confirmed in Japan, as the country works to overcome a third wave of the pandemic.
The new variant has been found in 91 cases in the Kanto area of eastern Japan and in two cases at airports, Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato told reporters.
“It may be more contagious than conventional strains, and if it continues to spread domestically, it could lead to a rapid rise in cases,” he said.
The new strain appears to have originated overseas but is different from other types that have been found sporadically in Japan, according to the National Institute of Infectious Diseases.
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It has the E484K mutation on the spike protein of the virus that has been found in other variants, which may undermine the effectiveness of vaccines.
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.
Meanwhile, in the UK, Brits are waiting to hear how Prime Minister Boris Johnson plans to lead us out of our third lockdown.
The Prime Minister has remained adamant that schools will be the first thing to return to some form of normality, and while he was optimistic that this lockdown would be the last, he could not be certain that a fourth would not be needed.
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The main points Mr Johnson is expected to cover in his announcement is schools, hospitality and leisure and rules around holidays after concerns that vaccine passports may be needed to enter other countries.
In England, around one in 115 people in private households had COVID-19 between February 6 and 12 according to new estimated from the Office for National Statistics.
For the East of England that number stood at one in 125 people, the third lowest proportion of the regions of England.
This follows the country’s recent trend of falling cases, down from around one in 80 people for the period January 31 to February 6.
It is the lowest figure since November 29 to December 5, when the estimate also stood at one in 115 people.
North-west England had the highest proportion of people of any region in England likely to test positive for coronavirus, the ONS said.
Around one in 85 people in private households in the North West were estimated to have had Covid-19 in the week ending February 12.
For London the estimate was one in 100, and for the West Midlands it was one in 110.
The other estimates are one in 120 people for the East Midlands and for Yorkshire and the Humber; one in 125 people for eastern England; and one in 135 for north-east England, south-east England and south-west England.