Tokyo confirms first case of community omicron transmission

Tokyo has discovered its first case of community transmission of the omicron variant of the coronavirus, Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike said on Friday, a sign that it is spreading slowly but steadily across the country.

The announcement comes after cases of community transmission of omicron were detected in Osaka and Kyoto prefectures earlier this week.

“One of the reported cases of omicron does not have a recent history of overseas travel and it is not known where it was transmitted from,” Koike said at a press conference. “It is therefore a case of community transmission.

The patient – a doctor who works at a clinic in Tokyo – is currently hospitalized. The patient’s sex has not been revealed.

Five people, including family members, were deemed to be close contacts. All are asymptomatic and have so far tested negative for COVID-19.

Koike said those who were treated at the clinic were not designated as close contacts because the doctor wore protective masks.

Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike speaks at a press conference in Tokyo on Friday. | KYODO

Three other people in Tokyo who returned from overseas have been confirmed to be infected with the variant, Koike said.

Following the first confirmed case of community transmission, the metropolitan government will offer free COVID-19 testing starting Saturday, she said. Authorities will make a total of 30,000 such tests available per day at 180 sites by the end of next week.

Separately, on Friday, Kyoto Governor Takatoshi Nishiwaki announced that three cases of community transmission of the omicron variant had been confirmed in Kyoto, bringing the total number of such cases in the prefecture to four. Kyoto reported its first case of community-based omicron infection on Thursday, but the latest cases were not close contacts of this case, Nishiwaki said.

“Considering that more people will be in contact with each other at the end of the year and during the New Year holidays, we have to face it with a sense of crisis,” Nishiwaki said at a conference. hurry.

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