JAPAN TO LIFT COVID-19 TRAVEL BAN FOR NINE COUNTRIES
31 OCTOBER 2020
TOKYO: The Japanese government on Friday decided to lift its travel ban over the COVID-19 pandemic for China, South Korea, Taiwan, Australia, Singapore, Thailand, New Zealand, Brunei and Vietnam, Jiji Press reported.
It also decided to exempt Japanese nationals and foreigners with residency permits after short-term visits to any countries or regions from a two-week quarantine under some conditions.
The government decided on the changes at a meeting of its headquarters on responses to the novel coronavirus at the prime minister's office.
"We'll definitely prevent an explosive spread of infections," Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga told the meeting.
"On top of that, we will resume social and economic activities and revive the economy," he said.
It is the first time for Japan to lift its coronavirus travel bans.
Meanwhile, Japan will ban travel from Myanmar and Jordan, where infection cases are increasing.
All these changes will take effect Sunday.
Japanese nationals and foreigners with residency permits who travel abroad for up to seven days will be exempted from the two-week isolation, if virus detection tests upon return show a negative result, if they do not use public transport for two weeks after returning, and if they submit their activity plans for the two weeks.
Ahead of the travel ban changes, the Foreign Ministry downgraded the infectious disease travel alerts for the nine economies from Level 3, which advices against any travel, to Level 2, which calls for avoiding nonessential travel.
Separately, Japan lifted the Level 2 general travel warning for the entire world, introduced in preparation for the possibility that Japanese nationals would become unable to return from abroad because of the closing of national borders amid the coronavirus crisis.
The government is considering allowing travellers from many parts of the world to enter Japan for business travel of up to three days if they submit proof of a negative test result for the coronavirus and plans for their stays.
Such a move was not decided this time, however, due to the resurgence of the virus in Europe and elsewhere.
The coronavirus headquarters also discussed future measures to combat the disease in light of a slight increase in domestic coronavirus cases.
Suga said the government will focus on prevention measures mainly in busy commercial districts if infection clusters occur.
"We'll contain infections through large-scale and focused testing," he said. - Bernama