ANA, JAL cease flight bookings to Japan amid Omicron variant fears

All Nippon Airways Co. and Japan Airlines Co. stated Wednesday they have stopped accepting reservations for inbound global flights to Japan in line with a government request to stem the spread of the Omicron variant of the novel coronavirus.

The transport ministry claimed it had questioned airlines to stop accepting reservations for these types of flights till the stop of December, though Chief Cupboard Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno claimed Japan will deny entry to all foreigners from 10 African nations around the world feared to have outbreaks of the variant.

The move comes as Japan verified its next case of the perhaps very contagious strain the exact same working day — a gentleman in his 20s who arrived at Narita airport in close proximity to Tokyo on Saturday just after recently remaining in Peru, Matsuno mentioned at a press meeting.

The guy, who is entirely vaccinated with Pfizer Inc.’s COVID-19 vaccine, was at first asymptomatic but later designed a fever and sore throat. All-around 114 people today who ended up on the same flight as the person have examined unfavorable and are being handled as near contacts.

Japan verified its to start with scenario of infection involving the variant, a diplomat in his 30s touring from Namibia, a working day previously. The male from Peru, who is at present in quarantine at a healthcare facility, was not in near get in touch with with the diplomat, in accordance to a authorities source.

Experts are striving to ascertain no matter whether the highly mutated strain is more transmissible than the current Delta variant of the coronavirus or in a position to evade immunity from vaccines or preceding infections.

The Omicron variant was 1st reported by South Africa final 7 days and has been identified in a number of African and European nations around the world as well as Canada, Israel and Hong Kong.

The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism’s ask for to quit taking reservations for inbound global flights suggests all Japanese citizens and foreign citizens will correctly be locked out of the region.

Japan will also deny re-entry to all foreigners, including inhabitants with lengthy-phrase visas, who have recently been to Angola, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

The measure will come into impact Thursday and keep on being in spot “for the time currently being,” Matsuno reported. Japan has now banned new entries of foreigners from around the earth.

Japanese expats and vacationers ended up shaken by the unexpected border limits, with quite a few anxious about irrespective of whether they will be in a position to return house.

“I am surprised the Japanese governing administration has out of the blue tightened the principles. I unquestionably want to spend New Year’s Eve at my parents’ home,” mentioned a 29-calendar year-previous Japanese lady doing work at a cafe in Vancouver, Canada, who has been searching ahead to returning house for the to start with time in three a long time.

Liu Chao, 35, who was at Kansai Global Airport in Osaka Prefecture to select up his wife and daughter arriving on a flight from Hong Kong on Wednesday evening, reported though he understands Japan needs the limits as actions towards the new variant, he wishes the governing administration “would choose into consideration the family members of overseas staff.”

Exemptions will be designed in “unique circumstances” involving overseas spouses and little ones of Japanese citizens, diplomats and humanitarian instances.

But Matsuno mentioned Japan is narrowing eligibility for these types of exemptions as portion of endeavours to keep out the Omicron variant and has stopped accepting government-funded intercontinental pupils or individuals in the Japan Exchange and Training Software.

The Environment Health and fitness Group has selected the pressure a “variant of worry,” warning it is probable to unfold globally and poses a “really substantial” chance.

On Tuesday, on the other hand, the WHO urged versus employing blanket journey bans, saying they will not only be ineffective in stopping the world-wide unfold of the variant but also “position a hefty burden on life and livelihoods.”

In addition to the ban on new entries of foreigners, Japan has imposed harder quarantine steps for Japanese citizens and overseas people who have lately been to particular international locations or areas, demanding them to spend up to 10 times of their two-week isolation durations in government-specified amenities.

On Wednesday, the International Ministry explained people returning from South Korea will now be subject matter to a 6-day quarantine in govt-designated facilities, when six days — up from 3 times — will also be essential for these from Australia, Germany, Sweden and Portugal.

The ministry reported 3 times will now be needed for people from Switzerland, as effectively as the Canadian provinces of Alberta, Quebec, and British Columbia, and the French territory of Reunion.

The measure thanks to heightened fears around the Omicron variant comes into influence commencing Friday.

Linked coverage:

Japan’s 1st Omicron variant scenario rekindles anxiety amongst enterprises

Japan confirms 1st scenario of Omicron variant

Concentration: PM Kishida getting no chances as Japan closes border about Omicron

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January 2022
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