Japan on Friday confirmed to have detected the first five cases of a new strain of the deadly coronavirus among passengers returning from the UK.

These five people tested positive for the coronavirus at the airport after their arrival in Japan, and they have been quarantined, NHK News reported.

More than 40 countries, including Turkey and those from Europe, have suspended air traffic with the UK after the new strain of the virus was discovered in the country.

The newly discovered variant is reported to be spreading 70% faster.

Meanwhile, Japan on Friday recorded 3,831 new cases and 62 more deaths, raising the number of total infections to 215,265 and death toll to 3,198.

Japan’s health authorities said 644 COVID-19 patients are being treated in intensive care units.

The COVID-19 pandemic has claimed more than 1.74 million lives in 191 countries and regions since last December.

Nearly 79.5 million cases have been reported worldwide, with more than 44.8 million recoveries, according to figures compiled by the US Johns Hopkins University.

The US, India, and Brazil remain the worst-hit countries in terms of the number of cases.

While new restrictions imposed ahead of the holiday season, especially across Europe, countries are approving and procuring vaccines to end the pandemic.

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