Japan announced Tuesday, January 11, the extension until the end of February of the restrictions prohibiting the entry of most foreign nationals on its soil, and will reopen mass vaccination centers to fight against the Omicron variant.
“We will maintain our border control measures until the end of February, while taking the necessary measures from a human point of view and considering the national interestPrime Minister Fumio Kishida told reporters.
Strict measures under study
Local media reported that exceptions to the strict measures were being considered for foreign nationals with Japanese families or for foreign students, but no official announcement was made on Tuesday. The government will also reopen vaccinodromes run by the Japanese Self-Defense Force and ask local communities to reopen their own large-scale vaccination sites to speed up the administration of booster doses, Kishida said. Japan has put in place drastic control measures at its borders, including a period of quarantine and frequent testing for all people entering its territory.
But these efforts have not prevented the spread of the Omicron variant, and the number of recorded daily cases is sharply increasing. At the national level, the weekly average has thus increased tenfold over the past week. “The Omicron variant is believed to cause fewer severe cases, but if the total number of infections increases, severe cases will also increase and this will put pressure on the hospital system.Kishida warned, asking the population to remain vigilant.
The health restrictions concerning the American forces present in the Archipelago, which are not subject to Japanese rules in the matter, have also been tightened since Monday by the American command, under pressure from Tokyo. Several local Japanese officials believe that US military bases are largely responsible for the new wave of coronavirus in Japan.