Japan asks airlines to suspend new flight bookings for Omicron variant

The Japanese government asked airlines not to accept new ticket reservations to enter the country for a month due to concerns about the omicron variant, the transport ministry said Wednesday.

Japan confirmed on Wednesday the detection of a second case of this variant in a passenger from Peru, a country that has not officially registered any omicron cases to date.

“We have asked the airlines to stop accepting reservations for new incoming flights for a month from December 1,” a transport ministry official told AFP, noting that existing reservations will not be affected.

The Japanese government had tightened its already severe border measures, prohibiting the entry of all those who were not its citizens from ten southern African countries.

They also tightened quarantine measures for Japanese and foreign residents from dozens of other countries and territories due to the emergence of Omicron.

On Tuesday the authorities announced the detection of a first case in a passenger from Namibia, and on Wednesday they reported a second in a patient from Peru.

The passenger, a man in his twenties whose nationality was not specified, arrived on November 27 at Tokyo’s Narita airport from Peru and is currently isolated in a medical facility, the Japanese government said.

Japan’s borders have been virtually closed for much of the pandemic and even in 2020 the entry of residents was banned.

These border measures have been a crucial part of Japan’s anticovid strategy, which has not involved such strict confinements as in other parts of the world.

After a strong rebound in cases in the boreal summer, Japan has few infections domestically and accumulates 18,360 deaths during the entire pandemic.

77% of the Japanese population is vaccinated and on Wednesday booster doses began to be administered to those who had received the second dose at least eight months ago.


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