Relaxed coronavirus regulations unable to last even one month as sources say first omicron case has been discovered.

On November 8, Japan finally once again began allowing entry into the country for new international students, technical trainees, and business travelers. Sadly, instead of being the first in a series of steady steps towards the resumption of regular tourist travel between Japan and other nations, the relaxed restrictions have turned out to be an all-too-brief moment of respite before yet another coronavirus crisis.

On Monday, exactly three weeks from the start of the relaxed entry rules, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida that Japan is once again closing its borders to all new foreign arrivals. Kishida made the announcement in the morning, and the new restrictions went into effect at midnight, less than 24 hours later.

The reason for the tightening of protocols is concern about the potential spread of the omicron variant of the coronavirus. At the time of the announcement no omicron cases had been confirmed within Japan, but a 30-something man who entered the country on Sunday from Namibia tested positive for the coronavirus upon arrival at Narita Airport, the largest international air hub for the Tokyo area. On Tuesday, government sources confirmed that the man is carrying the omicron variant, according to reports from public broadcaster NHK, Kyodo News, and multiple other media outlets.

Japanese citizens and foreign residents returning to the country will also be facing stricter regulations, as they will be asked to isolate themselves at home or in quarantine facilities for 14 days upon entering Japan.

The new precautionary measures are currently scheduled to continue for one month.

Sources: Kyodo, Nihon Keizai Shimbun, NHK (1, 2, 3, 4)
Top image: Pakutaso
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