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Japan suspends entry for non-resident foreigners amidst new Covid variant



Japan is suspending nonresident foreign nationals from entering the country starting tomorrow through late January as a precaution to stop the spread of a new and possibly more transmissible strain of the Covid-19 virus.

Japanese citizens and foreign residents alike will also have to submit negative virus test results within 72 hours of departing to Japan from countries and territories where the new variant has been first reported and undergo tests upon arrival. Britain was the first country to report the new variant in Covid-19.

The government, however, says students and business people from 10 countries, which include Thailand, Vietnam, Taiwan and South Korea, would not be affected by the suspension policy.

Earlier today, the government reported 2 more people to have been infected with the variant, with 1 being confirmed as the first domestically transmitted case. Tokyo has already banned entry to foreign nationals who have recently been to Britain and South Africa.

Tokyo had previously banned the entry of people from up to 159 counties and territories at one point amid the pandemic, but began on October 1 to conditionally allow entry from people worldwide who plan to stay in the country for more than 3 months for business and other approved purposes.

Japan will stop the issuance of new visas starting Monday, with those already obtaining visas being allowed to enter.  However, anyone coming from Britain or South Africa within 14 days of applying for an entry permit will be excluded.

Last Friday, the government said 5 people under the age of 70 had been confirmed as infected with the new variant following their arrival from Britain.

Yesterday, Japan confirmed 3,881 coronavirus cases, and 47 deaths, marking the 4th straight day of reaching the highest daily amount of infections recorded since the virus pandemic began. In total, Japan’s number of virus cases stands at 219,070.

British health officials say the new strain, could be up to 70% more transmissible but there was no evidence of it being deadlier.  Furthermore, they say the new strain hasn’t shown to be resistant of the vaccines.

The variant has also been reportedly found in Australia, France, Italy, Denmark, Singapore, Spain, Hong Kong and the Netherlands.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post


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