Japan, Philippines and Singapore join UK travel freeze over COVID
Nikkei -- Dec 23
Japan and other Asian countries are adding to the cascade of global restrictions on travel from the U.K., amid fears of a new coronavirus variant believed to be more transmissible than strains seen so far.

Katsunobu Kato, the Japanese chief cabinet secretary, on Wednesday morning announced a temporary ban on foreign visitors arriving from the U.K., starting Thursday. Singapore, the Philippines and South Korea have all announced their own fresh travel curbs since Tuesday, following measures by India and Hong Kong on Monday.

Kato said only Japanese citizens coming back from Britain, as well as foreign nationals with valid residence permits, will be allowed to enter the country "for the time being." They will be asked to stay in quarantine for 14 days -- a rule that had been relaxed in November for travelers returning from short business trips.

This contradicted earlier reports that even foreign residents might be temporarily locked out.

From Sunday onward, nationals and residents returning to Japan will be allowed to isolate at home only if they can submit proof of a negative COVID-19 test issued no more than 72 hours before departure. Otherwise, they will have to stay at a designated quarantine facility.

Governments are taking no chances with the new strain, despite questions over whether there is actual cause for alarm. The World Health Organization has stressed that it has seen no evidence the variant is more deadly or makes people sicker, cautioning against panic. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said it appears to be up to 70% more transmittable.

European countries were quick to cut off Britain after the U.K. government admitted over the weekend that the coronavirus variant was out of control in some parts of the country. Hong Kong followed on Monday by announcing it would ban anyone who had spent time in the U.K. in the past two weeks from boarding a flight to the city, while India said it would suspend flights from the U.K. until Dec. 31.

イギリスで新型コロナの変異種の感染が広がっていることを受けて、日本政府はイギリスからの入国制限を強化すると発表しました。  加藤官房長官:「当分の間、英国からの入国者に対する水際対策を強化することを決定しました」  イギリスからの入国についてはこれまで、7日以内の短期の出張者には帰国後の待機を免除していましたが、この措置を停止して2週間待機を求めます。また、中長期にわたって日本に滞在する資格を持った外国人は受け入れてきましたが、日本人以外の新規の入国を一時的に停止します。これらの措置は24日から実施されます。
News sources: Nikkei, ANNnewsCH
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