Japan Confirms First Case of Omicron as Nation Bans New Entry
(Bloomberg) -- Japan confirmed its first case of omicron variant as the nation closed its borders to new foreign entrants and introduced strict quarantine for its own citizens on arrival from countries where the variant has been found.
A man who returned to Japan from Namibia on Sunday was confirmed to have been infected with the omicron variant of the coronavius, Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno told reporters on Tuesday. The man arrived at the Narita International Airport outside of Tokyo, he said. There are no other reports of suspected cases, Matsuno said.
Japan joins about a dozen nations that have confirmed cases since the variant was first reported in South Africa last week. The world’s third-largest economy tightened its border controls on Tuesday, just weeks after relaxing restrictions for visitors such as businesspeople and students. Countries around the world are clamping down on travel over concern that the newly discovered variant may be more contagious than previous mutations.
Confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Japan have been steadily declining from a peak of about 25,000 cases a day earlier this year. Even as the country slowly removed restrictions on bars, restaurants and gatherings, the daily tally hit a 17-month low earlier this month. Japan now leads the G-7 in terms of the proportion of its population who are vaccinated, with 77% of its 126 million people fully immunized as of Nov. 28, according to Our World in Data.
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