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Japan confirms first case of omicron that passed quarantine inspection

Japan has confirmed the first case of the omicron coronavirus variant that passed a quarantine inspection conducted upon arrival from abroad, the health ministry said Saturday.

A foreign national in his 40s living in Gifu Prefecture tested positive for the strain, becoming the 13th confirmed omicron case in the country, according to the ministry and the Gifu Prefectural Government.

“We don’t think he was infected through community transmission,” a ministry official said.

The man arrived at Narita International Airport near Tokyo from Sri Lanka on Dec. 4. He tested negative at the airport’s quarantine inspection.

The man was a close contact of Japan’s fourth omicron case, who was confirmed to be infected with the variant Wednesday after arriving from Nigeria, with the two on the same flight into Narita.

The man was hospitalized after developing a fever during self-isolation at home in Gifu Prefecture.

Japan obliges arrivals from southern African countries and some other nations to stay quarantined for three to 10 days at designated facilities. But Sri Lanka is not among those countries.

The man returned to his home the day after his arrival in a car driven by an acquaintance living in a different prefecture. The man, still hospitalized, began to report a fever Tuesday, but the symptoms had disappeared by Saturday.

The acquaintance was judged to be a close contact of the man and transferred to an accommodation facility for people infected with the coronavirus. Japan requires all close contacts of omicron cases to be isolated at such facilities.

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