Japan banned all new foreign visitors into their country, according to a statement released by the country’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs on their official website last Monday, November 29.
The strict measure was also announced by Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on Monday, weeks after they implemented relaxed restrictions for entering the country. Kyodo News reported on Tuesday that the measure announced by PM Fumio Kishida is necessary as it will help prevent the worst-case scenario.
According to Japan’s transport ministry, new international flights to Japan are suspended until the end of December. The decision was made after a second case of the omicron variant was reported in the country. The strain was discovered in a male in his twenties who returned from Peru and landed at Narita Airport in Tokyo on Saturday, according to the health ministry.
“From the view of prevention, we won’t just restrict new entry by foreigners but also returning foreigners with resident status, unless there are special extenuating circumstances,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno said in a press conference.
“We will maintain a sense of urgency and keep track of the situation in various countries to be able to respond quickly and flexibly,” he added.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) on Wednesday, the highly mutated COVID-19 variant Omicron is already in 23 countries around the globe. Countries around the world are currently on high alert, although ongoing research and study have yet to produce any report on the new variant transmissibility, severity and effect on vaccines.
South Africa reported the variant to WHO a week ago, and it contains more than 30 mutations in the spike protein alone. According to the WHO, some of the mutations are associated with a decrease in antibody protection and increased transmission.
Brunei, on November 27, have immediately placed travel restrictions on eight countries; South Africa, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, and Zimbabwe, following a report on the detection of the Omicron variant.
The Minister of Home Affairs, Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Kerna Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Awang Abu Bakar bin Haji Apong, has announced that entry-and-exit permission has been suspended for individuals who have received prior permission to enter the Sultanate until further notice.