If you are planning a vacation or business trip to Japan, first, what the heck are you thinking? Second, you can’t do it anyway.
On Monday, Japan began denying entry to any nonresident foreigners after a more contagious coronavirus variant spread across Great Britain, the Associated Press reported. The ban will run through at least Jan. 31 and will require returning Japanese nationals to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test within the past three days and self-isolate for two weeks after returning home. American military personnel stationed in Japan can enter the country but must follow the quarantine rules.
Seven people arriving from Britain tested positive for the variant in Japan this weekend. The new strain has been confirmed in more than 20 countries. COVID-19 has claimed 3,213 deaths in Japan, with surging caseloads since last month, according to AP. The country reported a single-day record of 3,881 new coronavirus cases Saturday.
Japan Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga gave a press briefing Monday and explained that the new ban went into effect to “protect our citizens’ lives and livelihoods, by taking measures in advance,” according to the Japan Times. Suga also encouraged tamer New Year’s Eve celebrations and pledged submitting legislation that would compensate restaurants and bars for adhering to government requests for shorter hours of operation.
Japan ended a tourism promotion that paid half of travel expenses to curb the pandemic’s economic hit. But after notable increases in destination areas, the program was stopped despite tourism numbers already dropping by 73%, according to JTB Tourism Research & Consulting Co.
Leave it to COVID-19 to make a Japanese island’s erupting volcano secondary news in that country.