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Experts Alert for Rapid Spread of Coronavirus Variants

Experts Alert for Rapid Spread of Coronavirus Variants

   Tokyo, April 14 (Jiji Press)--A Japanese health ministry panel of experts warned Wednesday that mutant strains of the novel coronavirus are rapidly spreading in place of the original virus mainly in the Kansai western region, where new infection cases are resurging.
   Noting that the proportion of variant cases is rising also in regions around Kansai, Tokyo and the central prefecture of Aichi, the advisory board said, "Caution is required for a rapid increase in infection cases."
   "The pace of increase in the number of infection cases and that of severely ill coronavirus patients is considerably faster than before," Takaji Wakita, head of the National Institute of Infectious Diseases, said at a press conference.
   New infection cases and patients in severe condition have been on the increase around the country since March, the panel said. The medical systems are under growing strain in Osaka and Hyogo prefectures, part of Kansai, in particular, it said, citing a pressing need to secure medical staff and hospital beds for seriously ill patients in the prefectures.
   Infections are increasing among people in their 20s and 30s in many of areas where the coronavirus is spreading, the advisory board said, stressing the importance of asking people to refrain from holding drinking and other parties and of putting them on alert again about the risk of infection clusters related to daytime karaoke.

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