Japan finds cases of new virus variant

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Japanese health authorities have found more than 90 cases of a new variant of the COVID-19 virus, the government's chief spokesman says.

The mutant variant, known as E484K, has been found in 91 cases in the Kanto area of eastern Japan and in 2 cases at airports, Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobo Kato told reporters on Friday.

The variant is believed to have come from overseas but is different from those that originated in Britain and South Africa, according to an earlier report by the Mainichi newspaper that cited Japan's National Institute of Infectious Diseases.

Japan has reported 151 cases of variants from Britain, South Africa and Brazil, according to the health ministry.

The nation has had more than 400,000 cases of COVID-19, with 7194 fatalities.