As the COVID cases and its omicron variant spread across the prefectures in Japan, officials have decided to extend the border restrictions till the end of February. This decision of banning entry for foreigners comes from the statement of the country’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on Tuesday.
Since November 30th this year, the country has allowed Japanese citizens and returning foreign citizens to stop the Omicron variant.
“Because of the strictest border restrictions among the Group of Seven nations, we have been able to minimize the influx of the omicron variant and buy time to prepare for a surge in domestic cases,” Kishida spoke to reporters.
The prime minister stated that the government would keep “the framework” of the current restrictions on border crossings up to the close of the following month.
While Japan will not accept new foreign nationals and maintain its daily cap on new travelers at 3500 passengers, the country will reduce other restrictions.
For instance, Japan stopped receiving passengers from some African countries after Omicron became a thing. Now, Cabinet Chief Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno happily informed the reporters that eligible people from eleven of those countries could return to Japan.
Those 11 countries are:
- Democratic Republic of Congo
- The Republic Of South Africa
Matsuno suggested that the government might ease students‘ restrictions abroad because some students will soon complete their degrees.
Under certain circumstances, the government has allowed some individuals, including diplomats, spouses, children, parents of Japanese, and permanent residents, to enter the country. Under specific conditions, foreign nationals from other countries can also be permitted for humanitarian reasons.
The government relaxed restrictions in November. 8 to permit new entry from international business travelers, students, and technical students, the program was put on hold after detecting Omicron on the continent of South Africa.
Japan discovered the first case of Omicron in November. 30. However, the start of this year has also seen a drastic rise in infections. This past Saturday, the national daily count surpassed 8000 to the highest level in four months. On Tuesday, 100 patients were seriously ill, according to Health Ministry.
Last week, the government declared a quasi-state emergency for Hiroshima, Yamaguchi, and Okinawa prefectures.
Also read about Japan Registers Its First Omicron Variant Infection Case