• Kyodo

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The government will establish in March a center for monitoring the health of visitors from overseas during their stay amid the coronavirus pandemic, as it plans to accept small group tours ahead of the postponed Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games, sources familiar with the matter said Tuesday.

Tourists will be required to register their passport numbers with the center and input daily updates on their health condition for two weeks, the sources said.

If a person is suspected to be infected with the virus, the center will provide consultations, available in multiple languages, and the information gathered at the center will be made available to public health centers and prefectural governments.

The health monitoring facility will also allow the games' venues to access such information to help check the health condition of visitors when the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics are held next summer.

The center will create guidelines for municipalities, hotels and travel agencies on how to respond if a visitor is found to be infected with the virus.

Japan currently denies entry to foreign nationals who have stayed in any of 152 countries and regions, except when they are arriving for short business trips as well as stays of 3 months or more for study and other purposes.

But the government plans to allow small tour groups under its policy package aimed at boosting tourism demand, as the number of visitors to Japan dropped 85.1% in the January-October period from the same period a year earlier amid border restrictions. The schedule for accepting such tour groups has yet to be decided.

Those travelers will be required to take a polymerase chain reaction test for the virus, submit the results before entry and buy medical insurance, among other conditions.

The budget for the center, which will continue to operate after the Olympics, will be included in the third supplementary budget for this fiscal year.

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