Japan’s government is suspending foreign visitors from entering the country beginning December 28, 2020. 

As a precaution against the new coronavirus variant, which has widely spread across Britain, Japan is banning the entry for all nonresident foreign nationals. The Foreign Ministry announced that the ban would be in place until January 31, 2021. 

Japanese citizens and foreign residents would still be able to enter the country, but they would be required to self-quarantine for 14 days. There will be an exception for business travelers from 11 countries and territories that Japan has agreed with, according to the Japan Times.

The decision comes after Japan confirmed its first cases of a mutated COVID-19 in five people who entered the country from the UK, announced the health minister Norihisa Tamura. 

Japan tightened its restrictions on arrivals from the UK and South Africa on December 24, 2020. 

Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga announced that the Go To Travel campaign aimed at promoting domestic travel would also be suspended from December 28, 2020 to January 11, 2021.

Other countries in the Asia-Pacific region have also witnessed the surge of new cases. Indonesia barred the arrivals of international visitors for a two-week period starting from January 1, 2021. The new regulation applies to all foreign visitors, except for high-level government officials or foreigners with residency permits, said Indonesia’s foreign minister Retno Marsudi.

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Saudi Arabia extends the ban for international air operations, but allows non-citizens to leave the country.