Il Japan further extends the entry ban for non-resident foreigners up to end of February.
“The infection situations concerning Omicron are clearly different at home than abroad, so the framework of current border controls will be maintained until the end of February,” the prime minister announced. Fumio Kishida in a television broadcast.
Il ban has been in effect since 30 November after the country confirmed its first case of the Omicron variant, and despite the fact that, in the preceding weeks, the country was beginning to experiment with the first attempts to open up to international travelers.
In addition to the ban on non-resident aliens, the measures provide that i returning Japanese citizens and entering foreign residents in the country they are quarantined in government designated facilities.
In addition, there is also a maximum limit set for arrivals in the country, of approximately 3,500 per day.
Meanwhile, many operators seem resigned to the current situation where inbound tourism and travel in general has been ravaged by the pandemic that has been going on for nearly two years. “We hope that the incoming tourists will return as soon as possible, but we absolutely cannot predict the times”, he said to the portal Kyodonews the speakerphone of a major tour operator.
“We want practical anti-virus measures and at the same time the promotion of social and economic activities,” he told the press instead Shinya Katanozakapresident of All Nippon Airways Holdings Inc.commenting on the forced reduction of international flights.
Japan has also banned the return of foreigners residing in the country from 11 countries, including South Africa, but the chief cabinet secretary Hirokazu Matsunoannounced that the restriction will be lifted for “humanitarian considerations”.
However, the Japanese generally seem to appreciate this cautious approach. According to a survey at the beginning of December, almost 90% of those interviewed support the decision of the newly elected prime minister Fumio Kishidato suspend new entries into the country for foreign citizens due to concerns about the new variant of the virus.
For Kishida, pandemic control is top priority. And despite the slow start of the vaccination campaign and the disputed Olympics in full health emergency, Japan is now among the countries that are best managing the new wave: about 80% of the population is already vaccinated, and the daily cases almost never exceed hundreds. The price to pay, however, remains the closure of the borders.