Japan halts all foreign arrivals over UK's Covid-19 variant


The cases of the new variant of the virus have been reported by several countries, including Denmark, Singapore, Canada and Spain.

Tokyo reported 481 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday as infections continued to climb throughout the country.

The rate on a weekly basis was less than 4 percent in early November.

The ministry on Friday reported its first cases of a new coronavirus variant identified in Britain.

The government will also require Japanese citizens and foreign residents coming from countries and territories where the new variant is confirmed to submit negative virus test results within 72 hours of departure and undergo tests upon arrival from Wednesday through the end of January. The variant, which is spreading rapidly in the United Kingdom, is much more infectious than previous strains.

Japan decided on Saturday to temporarily suspend the entry of foreign nationals, after it confirmed a total of seven cases of a new coronavirus variant identified in Britain, local media reported.

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The nationwide halt of the campaign is estimated to cause a loss of 318.7 billion yen ($308 billion) in potential spending through January 3, with the nation observing a 73 percent drop in the number of travelers from previous year due to the pandemic, according to JTB Tourism Research and Consulting Co.

However, business people and students from countries and regions including China, Thailand, Vietnam and South Korea, which have special schemes to ease travel restrictions with Japan, will not be affected by the policy.

The restrictions will be implemented on Monday, the government said in a statement.

Two more people were confirmed on Saturday to have been infected with a new coronavirus variant.

The two are a pilot who stayed in Britain and one of his family members, and they have been hospitalised in Tokyo, according to the Health Ministry.

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