Japan's tightened entry rules over omicron to last into new year

Japan Times -- Dec 19
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said Saturday that Japan will extend its tight entry rules until at least early next year to prevent the spread of the omicron variant of the coronavirus.

The government initially said the rules, banning new entry by foreign nationals worldwide and requiring returning Japanese nationals and foreign residents to quarantine in government-designated facilities, would be in place for about a month to the year's end.

Kishida told reporters that the government will continue with the rules until more details of the omicron variant are known.

"We will study the situation after the year-end and New Year's (holiday)," he said.

Japan reversed an easing of controls late last month as omicron spread around the world. The country has one of the world's strictest border policies, with only citizens and foreign residents allowed to enter, in principle.

Although COVID-19 cases have fallen dramatically since a deadly wave in August, there is growing concern over the omicron variant, which has been found more than 30 times in Japan, mostly during airport screenings and quarantine.

岸田総理大臣はオミクロン株への水際対策で外国人の新規入国を原則禁止にしている措置について、年をまたいで当面、継続させる方針を示しました。  岸田総理大臣:「このオミクロン株の実態がより明らかになるまで、少なくとも年末年始の状況はしっかり見極めたうえで、その先について考えるべきではないかと思ってます」  政府は先月末から「1カ月程度」の措置として、全世界を対象に外国人の新規入国を原則禁止としています。  岸田総理はオミクロン株について「未知の部分が大変多い」と述べ、現在の水際対策を年明け以降も当面、継続したうえで、それ以降については年末年始の状況を見て判断する考えを示しました。 - ANNnewsCH