Japan on Monday suspended new entries into the country by nonresident foreign nationals arriving from most of the world through the end of January as it seeks to prevent the spread of the new, potentially more transmissible coronavirus variant.

The government will also require Japanese citizens and foreign residents coming from countries and territories where the new variant is confirmed to submit negative virus test results within 72 hours of departure and undergo tests upon arrival from Wednesday through the end of January.

The new virus strain, first detected in Britain, has since been confirmed in more than 20 countries as well as in Hong Kong.