Japan, on Wednesday, directed airlines to halt reservations for incoming flights for one month amid growing fears over the omicron coronavirus variant.
The transportation ministry called the move “an emergency measure,” as the country found a second case of the Omicron variant. However, people with existing bookings will still be able to fly into Japan.
In response, the nation’s two largest carriers, All Nippon Airways and Japan Airlines accepted the ministry’s request, according to NHK.
Notably, the strain was detected in a male in his 20s who returned from Peru and landed at Narita Airport in Tokyo on Saturday.
Starting from tomorrow, all foreign arrivals from South Africa, Eswatini (formerly known as Swaziland), Zimbabwe, Namibia, Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Malawi, Zambia, and Angola will be denied entry into Japan for one month, barring exceptional circumstances.
These restrictions do not apply to Japanese nationals returning from those 10 countries, but those citizens will be required to isolate at a government-designated facility for 10 days — followed by four more days at a location of their choosing — and be tested for COVID-19 every three to four days.
The controversial move comes a day after the country reported its first case of the omicron variant, only hours after the central government banned all foreign travelers except foreign residents, their spouses or children.