Japan bans entry from all countries to block new strain's spread

Nikkei -- Dec 27
Japan will ban entry from all countries to prevent the spread of the more contagious U.K. strain of the coronavirus, the government announced Saturday.

The ban takes effect Monday and continues through the end of January. Japanese nationals and foreigners living in Japan will be permitted to return to the country. A 14-day quarantine request will apply to all without exception.

Japan currently bans entry from 152 nations, but since October, it has allowed in foreign students or business professionals planning long-term stays. Now the issuance of those visas will be suspended, but those who have already acquired visas can enter even after Monday.

New entry from the U.K. and South Africa -- two countries where the new variant is spreading -- has already been suspended.

To avoid disruptions to economic activity, bilateral business travel arrangements with 11 countries including China and South Korea will be maintained. Since many foreigners are entering Japan through this arrangement, the latest travel ban may have little impact on limiting foreign arrivals.

As of Friday, five people who traveled from Britain were confirmed to be infected with the new strain, according to the government.

Those arriving from countries where the new variant has been detected will be required to present proof of negative tests taken within 72 hours of departure. They also must take PCR tests upon arrival.

- Nikkei

新型コロナウイルスの変異種の感染が拡大していることを受け、政府は28日以降、全世界からの「新規の入国」を停止することを決めました。 政府は今年10月から、中長期の在留資格を持つ外国人の「新規の入国」を原則、認めていましたが、変異種の感染が確認されたイギリスと南アフリカを対象から外しています。 その後、変異種の感染が各国で広がっていることから、政府は今月28日から来月末まで、新規の入国停止の対象を全世界の国と地域に広げることを決めました。  今月30日以降は、現地当局が変異種の確認を発表した国と地域から帰国する日本人にも、出国前の72時間以内に受けた検査結果の提出を求め、入国時にも検査を実施するということです。 - TBS NEWS