Japan Extends Entry Ban Until End of February

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on Tuesday announced an extension of an entry ban on non-resident foreigners until the end of February, as the government tries to stop the spread of the highly transmissible Omicron variant.

“The infection situations regarding Omicron are clearly different at home from abroad, so we will maintain the framework [of restrictions] until the end of February,” Kishida said.

Tokyo reported 871 new COVID-19 cases on Monday, more than eight times as many as on the same day last week, while nationwide, new COVID-19 infections totaled 6,438 on Monday, down from over 8,000 the previous day.

Kishida appealed to the nation to stay calm and keep masks on, saying that “the rate of severe cases could increase if infections spread among the elderly.”

On Monday, Kishida met with infectious disease experts who advised him to speed up booster shots for the elderly, expand the supply of COVID-19 treatment pills and increase testing. 

“The government will assist efforts by local authorities” primarily responsible for vaccinations, “including through the establishment of large-scale vaccination sites run by the Self-Defense Forces,” Kishida said. 

Kishida added that the government would advance booster shots for the elderly by using the unused 9 million vaccines stock.

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