• Tokyo Covered Up Arrival of Deadly New COVID Variant Just Before the Ol

    From Job Bautista@21:1/5 to All on Sun Aug 8 13:31:36 2021
    XPost: alt.fan.countries.japan


    Three days before the Olympics began, on July 20, Japan’s National Institute of Infectious Diseases (NIID) reported to an international organization that the highly infectious Lambda variant had been
    detected in an airport test in Japan for the first time, but did not
    announce it widely to the public.

    The report was submitted to an international COVID-19 and other
    influenza virus database known as GISAID. According to preliminary
    reports from South American and Japanese scientists, the Lambda
    variant may possess an increased resistance to vaccines. Although
    scientific data on the variant is limited in comparison to prevalent
    COVID-19 variants like Delta, its detection in the airport comes at a
    time when infections in the country are skyrocketing. On Friday, the
    total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Japan passed 1 million
    and the arrival of Lambda can further complicate matters. For the
    time being, there appears to have been only one confirmed case.

    The Japanese government would not release details, but a researcher
    at the NIID told The Daily Beast that the variant was found at an
    airport check and not in the wild. The source said there was a plan
    to announce the variant’s detection but not until after the

    The NIID employee said new variant discoveries have previously been
    announced within three days, if they are well-known variants, but it
    can take up to 11 days. This year, on Jan. 2, four travelers from
    Brazil tested positive for the coronavirus. After lab analysis, the
    Ministry of Health determined that it was a new variant and made an announcement on Jan. 10, a Sunday. Typically, the Minister of Health
    has a press conference when a major new variant is discovered in
    Japan for the first time. In December, a Japanese woman who arrived
    in Haneda Airport after visiting Britain was judged negative after an
    airport screening. She later became ill and was tested on Dec. 19,
    and found to be positive for the virus. After determining that it was
    a British variant, the health ministry announced it eight days later,
    on Dec. 27.

    Government officials had not been willing to tell The Daily Beast
    when the original Lambda variant test was carried out, but it is now
    17 days since they told GISAID about the discovery.

    After discovering the Lambda report on the GISAID website on
    Wednesday, The Daily Beast approached the Ministry of Health, the
    NIID, and publicly requested information. The ministry initially
    stonewalled and then told us to wait for a call back with further
    information on Friday before slipping out the announcement of the
    case to the state broadcaster. NHK reported the news without
    mentioning the long, unexplained delay.

    Last month, a team of researchers at Tokyo University released a
    report, not yet peer-reviewed, that found the Lambda variant was
    highly infectious and displays detectable resistance to immunity
    acquired by vaccines. In Peru, where the variant was first
    discovered, more than 90 percent of infections are now traced to the
    Lambda variant. The research team at Tokyo University believes the
    variant “has potential to be a threat to human society.”

    Japan’s NIID reported finding the Lambda variant to the GISAID
    database on July 20. The database shared the first complete genome
    sequence of SARS-Cov-2 in early January 2020 and there have been
    nearly 2.5 million submissions logged since. Institutes submitting
    data to the group must have their credentials confirmed and sign a
    database access agreement.

    The variant was confirmed by the SARS-CoV-2 testing team at NIID in
    Tokyo and the data submitted by the Pathogen Genomics Center at the
    same institute. Nozumu Hanaoka, a senior research scientist at the institute’s Center for Infectious Disease Risk Management, and
    several other scientists signed off on the submission. According to GISAID’s Aug. 4 updated transmission tracking data, the variant is
    believed to have been brought to Japan by an infected patient
    traveling through the United States.

    The woman in her 30s traveled from Peru to Japan’s Haneda
    International Airport on July 20 where she tested positive for the
    variant, according to sources close to the Health Ministry, who said
    the NIID ran tests and confirmed it was the Lambda variant the same

    There are reportedly no direct scheduled flights from Peru to Haneda
    or Narita International Airport in Tokyo, with passengers usually
    making two or more stops in the United States. Travellers from Peru
    often route through Los Angeles International Airport, California,
    John F. Kennedy International Airport, New York, or Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, Washington, before making their final
    departure to Tokyo.

    The NIID has not yet responded to requests for further information
    about the discovery of the variant. For example, was it brought to
    Japan by a participant in the Olympics? Where was the carrier of the
    virus quarantined?

    An employee of the NIID who spoke to The Daily Beast on conditions of anonymity said, “I’m not authorized to speak on the record but to my knowledge the variant was detected at an airport checkpoint and has
    not been in the wild [exposed to the general populace].” The employee
    said that normally when a new variant is found, the information is promulgated quickly, but not this time. “There was a consensus at the Ministry of Health that this information would best be reported after
    the Olympics were over. Whether that is because they felt that it
    would be better to heighten public awareness when the news cycle
    slows down or whether this is because it might tangentially be
    associated with the Olympics, which is embarrassing—that I don’t

    A representative from the Ministry of Health told The Daily Beast
    that the Lambda variant has not “arrived” in Japan, as it was
    detected and quarantined at an airport circa July 20. “This means the proper testing protocols work,” they said.

    The representative elaborated that there is limited scientific
    information on how contagious, how viral, and how responsive to
    vaccines the Lambda variant is.

    “We are always monitoring the spread and behavior of variants.
    However, due to limited data, it is hard to say how dangerous the
    Lambda variant is. For this same reason, it is difficult to compare
    it to the Delta variant.”

    Kei Sato, a virology researcher at the University of Tokyo, one of
    the co-authors of the paper “SARS-CoV-2 Lambda variant exhibits
    higher infectivity and immune resistance,” confirmed to The Daily
    Beast that he was aware of a case of the Lambda variant being
    reported in Japan, but said he was not privy to further details.

    Job Bautista

    An XUL fanatic, and an add-ons developer. I also do some simple
    userscripts and bash scripting.

    I like Cyndaquil. He's obviously the best Pokemon starter. Every Johto
    Pokemon is cool too.


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