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Japan Halts New Incoming Flight Bookings Over ‘Omicron’ Strain: Ministry

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Japan’s borders have been virtually sealed during most of the pandemic. (Representative)

Tokyo:

Japan has asked airlines to stop taking new inbound flight bookings over concerns over the Omicron virus variant, the Transportation Ministry said on Wednesday.

The announcement came as authorities said they had detected a second infection with the new strain in an arriving traveler, a day after confirming a first case.

“We have asked airlines to stop accepting all new inbound flight bookings for one month from December 1,” an official from the Ministry of Transport told AFP, adding that existing bookings would not be affected.

The Japanese government has already tightened its strict border measures, banning the entry of all non-citizens from 10 southern African countries.

Quarantine measures have also been tightened for citizens and foreign residents coming from several dozen additional countries and territories over fears of the virus.

Japanese officials said a second case of Omicron was confirmed on Wednesday in a traveler from Peru who entered the country last month.

The first case, announced on Tuesday, involved a man arriving from Namibia.

Japan’s borders have been virtually sealed during most of the pandemic, even residents barred from entry for part of 2020.

Border measures have been a key part of the country’s response to Covid, which has not involved the severe lockdowns seen in parts of the world.

After a summer spike in cases, Japan records only double-digit infections nationwide most of the time and has recorded around 18,360 deaths during the pandemic.

About 77% of the country’s population is now fully vaccinated and boosters began to be given on Wednesday to people who received their second dose at least eight months ago.

(Except for the title, this story was not edited by DAILYNEWSCATCH staff and is posted from a syndicated feed.)

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