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Japan to keep strict border rules until end of February amid Omicron spred

Japan to keep strict border rules until end of February amid Omicron spred

Japan plans to maintain its strict border restrictions barring almost all new entries by foreign nationals until the end of February in a bid to stave off the omicron variant amid a resurgence in COVID-19 cases in the country, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said Tuesday.

Japan has banned new entries by foreign nationals worldwide since Nov. 30 in response to confirmed cases of the highly contagious variant in the country.

Even entry of spouses and children of Japanese nationals is denied unless they are in “special exceptional circumstances.”Kishida had earlier expressed an intention to announce his decision on border controls this week in accordance with how the pandemic developed over the New Year’s holidays.

At the his official residence on Monday, Kishida had discussions with health minister Shigeyuki Goto, economic revitalization minister Daishiro Yamagiwa and Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno.

The prime minister also met with Shigeru Omi, head of a government panel on COVID-19 response, and other infectious disease experts. Omi asked the government to work on accelerating the administration of booster vaccine shots to elderly people as a top priority task and swiftly establish the system to distribute oral drugs against COVID-19.

As part of accelerating third vaccinations, the government has also decided to reopen large-scale vaccination centers operated by the Self-Defense Forces, Kishida told reporters Tuesday.

He also said Japan will move forward the COVID-19 vaccinations for children under 12, although he did not specify the exact start date for inoculation for that age group.

Courtesy : The Japan Times

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