TOKYO, Dec. 25 (Xinhua) -- Japan's health ministry confirmed on Friday that five people in quarantine at Japanese international airports tested positive for a new COVID-19 variant spreading in Britain.
This is the first time Japan has confirmed infections with the new coronavirus variant that is believed to be more contagious.
Health Minister Norihisa Tamura told a press conference Friday night that the five infected people are under 70 and have travel histories to Britain. Four of them are asymptomatic.
Two of the five arrived in the Haneda airport in the capital Tokyo, while the others landed in the Kansai airport in the western prefecture of Osaka, said the minister.
The Japanese government on Thursday imposed a temporary ban on new arrivals of foreign nationals from Britain for purposes such as business or study, in response to the new and highly transmissible variant of the coronavirus found there.