29th November, 2021
Japan on Monday said it will ban all new foreign arrivals from Tuesday as the new Omicron COVID-19 variant spreads worldwide, Kyodo news agency reported.
The Japanese government had earlier said it was considering reviving a blanket ban on foreign arrivals due to concerns regarding the new Omicron variant of the coronavirus.
Japan’s border restrictions were eased in early November, allowing students, business people and technical interns into the country as long as their sponsors took on the responsibility to monitor their movements in the country, Kyodo reported.
Tokyo has already suspended entry for foreigners who have recently been in Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Zambia or Zimbabwe.
Residents and citizens returning from any of the nine countries are required to spend 10 days in a government-designated facility upon their arrival.
The new B.1.1.529 variant was first reported to the World Health Organisation (WHO) from South Africa on Wednesday.
The Geneva-based organisation categorised it as a “Variant of Concern” two days later.
Fears are growing that the new variant could be more transmissible or that it could reduce the effectiveness of existing vaccines, although much remains unclear.
A growing number of countries are responding with bans on travel from southern Africa.
The WHO has called for restraint when it comes to travel restrictions.