Japan shuts borders to all foreigners over Omicron COVID variant


The Japanese government says it will shut its borders to all foreigners over concerns about the spread of the Omicron COVID-19 variant.

According to Reuters, Fumio Kishida, prime minister of Japan, confirmed the development to reporters on Monday, saying the directive will take effect from midnight on Monday.

Kishida said Japanese citizens who are coming back from certain countries will have to quarantine in designated facilities.

“These are temporary, exceptional measures that we are taking for safety’s sake until there is clearer information about the Omicron variant,” Kishida was quoted to have said by Reuters.

I’m prepared to bear all criticism from those saying the Kishida administration is being too cautious.”

This development comes three days after Japan had restricted travels from six African countries, including South Africa.

On Tuesday, the index case of Omicron was detected in South Africa, and the World Health Organisation (WHO) subsequently designated Omicron as a “variant of concern”, calling on global leaders to take action to contain its spread.

Since the discovery of the new variant in South Africa, several countries have imposed travel restrictions, especially on African countries.

Morocco and Israel had announced that they would ban all foreigners from entering their countries over the Omicron variant.

Several countries including Canada, the Netherlands, Australia, Canada, Italy, Britain, Hong Kong, Botswana, Belgium and Switzerland have detected   cases of the variant.

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