Japan halts all foreigners over UK variant

·1-min read

Japan is barring entry of all non-resident foreign nationals as a precaution against a new and potentially more contagious coronavirus variant that has spread across Britain.

The Foreign Ministry says the entry ban will start on Monday and last through until January 31.

Last week, Japan banned non-resident foreigners coming from Britain and South Africa after confirming the new variant in seven people over the past two days - five from Britain who tested positive at airports and two others in Tokyo.

Japan is also suspending the exemption of a 14-day quarantine for Japanese nationals and resident foreigners in a short-track program that began in November.

The entrants now must carry proof of a negative test 72 hours prior to departure for Japan and self-isolate for two weeks after arrival.

Japan is struggling with surging cases since November.

It has confirmed a total of 217,312 cases including 3213 deaths, up 3700 from the previous 24-hour period.

Tokyo alone reported 949 cases, setting a new record, despite calls by experts and government officials for people to spend a "quiet" holiday season.