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Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Japan to reduce quarantine period for international arrivals to 10 days

Japan said on Friday it would reduce the quarantine period for travelers arriving in the country from the current 14 to 10 days, effective Saturday.

The foreign ministry said citizens and residents of Japan severely affected by the Omicron version of the coronavirus, including all countries and territories around the world, would be eligible to enter the country under the new rules. New entries of foreign nationals are effectively banned due to the COVID-19 border restrictions.

“The period of time required to self-quarantine in places such as one’s own residence or residence after entry into Japan, follow-up checks carried out by the Health Monitoring Center for migrant entrants and refrain from using public transport is from 14 days. Changed to 10 days,” the Ministry of External Affairs said.

The period was at least three days, but it was extended to 14 days in late November as the government tightened border controls following the emergence of Omicron.

The move comes after the government reduced the quarantine period from 14 days to 10 for close contacts of COVID-19 patients.

According to the National Institute of Infectious Diseases, the incubation period for the Omicron variant is about three days, shorter than other variants, and 99% of symptomatic patients develop symptoms within 10 days of infection.

With the change in policy, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s administration is attempting to minimize social disruption and further strain the medical system.

Earlier on Friday, Health Minister Shigeyuki Goto said the government had informed local authorities to reduce the isolation period to at least six days at its discretion for essential workers such as police officers and child and nursing care workers. will be able to.

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As far as doctors and nurses having close contact with people infected with the coronavirus, the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare has already informed the prefectural and local governments that they will continue to work if they test negative each day. Can continue

But the latest decisions could fuel public concern about the recent alarming rise in the number of infections in the country, which is experiencing a sixth wave of the pandemic.

Japan’s daily coronavirus cases topped 20,000 on Friday for the first time since September 1, according to a tally based on reports from prefectural governments, taking just two days to reach the current level after crossing 10,000.

In Tokyo, 4,051 new cases were reported, taking the tally to more than 4,000 for the first time since late August. Osaka Prefecture marked 2,826 cases, while Okinawa Prefecture, which has been in a semi-emergency since last Sunday, reported 1,596 infections.

Osaka Gov. Hirofumi Yoshimura told reporters he was considering asking the central government to declare a quasi-state of emergency in the western prefecture if the occupancy rate of hospital beds for COVID-19 patients reaches 35%. As of Friday, the rate was 21.5%.

Semi-emergency measures include enabling governors to request that dining establishments cut business hours and stop serving alcohol.

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