Omicron variant: Japan closes to all foreign visitors
Steph Deschamps / November 29, 2021
Japan will close its borders to all foreign visitors in the face of the Omicron variant, the Japanese government announced Monday, three weeks after easing some restrictions to allow the entry of foreign business travelers, students and interns.
We will ban all (new) entries of foreign nationals from all over the world from November 30, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida told reporters.
Japanese nationals returning from nine southern African states and countries where infections with the new variant have been reported will have to undergo strict risk-based isolation measures, Kishida said.
Japan, which has had border restrictions in place since the beginning of the pandemic, relaxed its measures for foreign business travelers, students and trainees in early November, but remains closed to tourists.
The Japanese government had announced on Friday the extension to ten days of the hotel quarantine for visitors from South Africa, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Namibia and Zimbabwe arriving on Japanese soil.
Tokyo extended this measure this weekend for visitors arriving from Malawi, Mozambique and Zambia.
First identified in South Africa, the Omicron variant has caused many countries to close their borders to southern Africa, some of which have only recently re-opened to the world.
Beyond southern Africa, infections with this new strain have been detected throughout the G7 countries, from Canada to Italy, including Great Britain and Germany.
The appearance of the Omicron variant has been deemed worrying by the World Health Organization (WHO), which nevertheless pleads for open borders to be maintained.