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Japan bans all foreign entry for one month

The Japanese government on Monday announced a month-long ban on all foreign travelers from entering the country from Tuesday in a bid to prevent a new strain of coronavirus known as Omicron from invading Japan .

“This is an emergency preventive measure to avoid the worst-case scenario,” Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio told reporters at a press conference on November 29.

The travel restriction applies to all new entries to Japan “including foreign students, interns and those traveling on business – from all countries of the world,” according to the Japan time.

“The entry ban will not affect Japanese nationals or foreign residents returning to the country,” the newspaper detailed, adding that “those returning from designated countries where the variant has been reported will have to self-isolate in a government-designated facility for three to ten days. “

Prime Minister Kishida said on Monday that his administration had chosen to close Japan’s borders to the outside world as a “temporary measure until information on the Omicron variant becomes clear.”

“When it comes to an unknown risk, it is better to take all precautions,” he added.

The World Health Organization (WHO) declared Omicron a “variant of concern” on November 26 after it was first detected in southern Africa in recent days.

“This decision was based on the evidence … that Omicron has several mutations that may impact its behavior, for example on how easily it spreads or the severity of the disease it causes,” wrote the United Nations public health agency in an opinion. published by its website on November 28.

The WHO has said more tests are needed to understand for sure whether Omicron is more contagious or causes more severe disease than existing variants of “Covid-19,” the name for the disease caused by a type of coronavirus known as the name of SARS-CoV-2. “Covid-19” is also known as the Chinese coronavirus.

A man receives a dose of a vaccine at a COVID-19 vaccination center in Soweto on Monday, November 29, 2021. The World Health Organization has urged countries not to impose a flight ban on southern African country due to concerns over the new omicron variant. (AP Photo / Denis Farrell)

The Japanese government said on Monday that its entry restrictions would increase for Japanese citizens and foreign residents returning home from 14 countries where Omicron has been detected so far. These countries include Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Malawi, Zambia and Angola.

As of November 30, any Japanese citizen or foreign resident returning from the above African countries “will be required to spend 10 days in a government-designated facility and four more in a location of their choice,” according to the Japan time.

” From Wednesday [December 1], Japan will also lower its daily limit on the number of people arriving from 5,000 to 3,500, ”Kyodo News reported on November 29.

Tokyo’s decision to suspend international travel to Japan on Monday comes less than a month after the naturally isolated island nation began to ease coronavirus travel restrictions for the country in response to a decrease in new daily cases of the virus .

“As of November 8, new entries have been authorized [into Japan] for the first time in almost a year provided they are quarantined for 14 days, or for 10 days if they were fully vaccinated ”, the Japan time recalled.

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