Japan reported its first case of a Japanese national infected with the Omicron variant of the coronavirus, marking the third case in the country on Monday, reported Kyodo News.
The man in his 30s, who had travelled to Italy, was found to be infected with the heavily mutated variant after entering Japan through Tokyo's Haneda airport on Wednesday, according to the report.
The person is fully vaccinated after receiving two doses of Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine in July and August, Kyodo News reported.
All of the other 41 passengers on the same flight are being treated as close contacts. One of them tested positive for the coronavirus but not the Omicron variant.
Japan confirmed its first domestic case of the Omicron variant on November 30 when a Namibian diplomat tested positive for the variant. The following day, the country confirmed a second unrelated case where a man in his 20s travelled from Peru, Both men tested positive on arrival at Narita airport near Tokyo, reported Kyodo News
The new variant of COVID-19 was first reported to the World Health Organisation (WHO) from South Africa on November 25. As per the WHO, the first known confirmed B.1.1.529 infection was from a specimen collected on November 9 this year.
On November 26, the WHO named the new COVID-19 variant B.1.1.529, which has been detected in South Africa, as 'Omicron'. The WHO has classified Omicron as a 'variant of concern'. Dozens of countries have imposed travel restrictions on the southern African nations since the mutation was discovered.
The new Omicron coronavirus variant has been confirmed in 23 countries and their number is expected to rise, Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO) Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus had said.