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Japan will close its borders to all new foreign arrivals due to omicron variant

The new Covid-19 rules apply to business travellers, foreign students and interns, but not Japanese citizens or residents

Kaila Imada
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Kaila Imada
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[Update, January 11 2022] Following a recent spike in new Covid-19 cases, Japan has extended its entry ban to the end of February 2022. 

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[December 6 2022] Just as we thought things were turning around for Japan, fears of the new omicron Covid-19 variant has set things back a few steps. As reported by The Japan Times, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida announced that Japan will close its borders from Tuesday November 30 to all new entries of foreign nationals including business travellers, foreign students and foreign interns. 

So far, the ban does not affect Japanese citizens and foreign residents re-entering Japan, but Kishida said that those travelling from countries and regions where cases of the omicron variant have been confirmed will be required to quarantine at a government-designated facility. 

From Wednesday December 1, the quarantine period for vaccinated travellers will be extended. Previously, fully vaccinated arrivals were only subject to a ten-day quarantine, but now all arrivals must quarantine for a full 14 days. However, your quarantine time is still divided into days at a government facility (usually a hotel) and self-isolation at home. The number of days you'll need to spend in each place depends on where you have arrived from.

Kishida emphasised the new measures are precautionary and intended to be temporary until more is known about the omicron variant. Travellers arriving from certain destinations will be required to undergo different lengths of quarantine according to the following rules. 

Three days quarantine

Arrivals from Argentina, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada (Alberta, British Columbia, Ontario, Quebec), Columbia, Costa Rica, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, France, French Reunion Island, Ghana, Greece, Haiti, Hong Kong, India (Karnataka), Ireland, Kenya, Mongolia, Morocco, Nepal, Nigeria, Norway, Pakistan, Philippines, Romania, Russia (Primorsky Krai, Moscow), Saudi Arabia, Spain, Suriname, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine United Arab Emirates, United States (California, Colorado, Hawaii, Minnesota, New York) and Uzbekistan must quarantine for three days at a government facility followed by 11 days at home or a place of their choosing.

Six days quarantine

Under the new restrictions, travellers from Australia, Germany, Israel, Italy, the Netherlands, Peru, Portugal, South Korea, Sweden, Trinidad and Tobago, the UK and Venezuela will be required to quarantine for six days at a government-designated facility followed by eight more days at home or another place of their choosing.

Ten days quarantine

Meanwhile, travellers from Angola, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe will be required to undergo a ten-day quarantine in a government-designated facility upon arrival, followed by four more days of self-isolation at home or a place of their choosing.

As reported by Kyodo News, a traveller who entered Japan on November 28 from Namibia has tested positive for the omicron variant, marking it as Japan's first known case of the new Covid-19 variant.

This article was originally published on November 29 and updated on January 11.

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