Japan is barring entry of all non-resident foreign nationals as a precaution against a new and potentially more contagious coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) variant that has spread across Britain.
The Foreign Ministry says the entry ban will start Monday and last through Jan. 31.
Last week, Japan banned non-resident foreigners coming from Britain and South Africa after confirming the new variant in seven people over the last two days — five from Britain who tested positive at airports and two others in Tokyo.
Japan is also suspending the exemption of a 14-day quarantine for Japanese nationals and resident foreigners in a short-track program that began in November. The entrants now must carry proof of a negative test 72 hours prior to departure for Japan and self-isolate for two weeks after arrival.
US military personnel stationed in Japan – who under the Status of Forces Agreement are exempt from Japanese passport control and visa requirements — would be permitted to enter the country for duty or other reasons, although they would have to follow quarantine rules.
Japan, which has been struggling with surging cases since November, has confirmed a total of 217,312 cases, including 3,213 deaths. SOVEREIGNPH