As reports of more contagious strains of the novel coronavirus continue to emerge on a daily basis worldwide, at least 73 countries are tightening their border control measures for travelers from Japan, where cases of the mutated virus have been detected.
In addition, a total of 140 nations have imposed additional precautionary measures restricting movement, such as mandatory quarantines, which affect travelers from Japan, according to the Japanese Foreign Ministry.
So far, Japan has confirmed 15 cases of the new strains of the virus from travelers from Britain and South Africa. The mutation, known as the B.1.1.7 lineage, is believed to be up to 70% more transmissible than the coronavirus that has spread across the world throughout 2020.
The new variants of the coronavirus have been reported in at least 17 countries, including Spain, Canada, India, Taiwan and the United States.
Those who are looking to travel to the U.S. will need to prove they have tested negative before their trip. After arriving there, they may be required to undergo tests within three to five days and may be requested to self-isolate for a week if they have engaged in “high-risk” activities prior to their arrival. Each state may have separate restrictions.
Britain, where a new variant of the coronavirus was first reported, has introduced a 10-day mandatory quarantine, but travelers from Japan are exempted from the policy. Travelers need to provide information, including their contact number and itinerary, via an online form beforehand.
Meanwhile, entry to Canada is currently permitted for citizens, permanent residents, qualifying family members, and accredited diplomats. People who have been approved for work permits or study permits and their close family members may also be allowed entry under certain conditions.
Japanese nationals and non-citizen residents can travel to 11 countries and regions, mainly in Asia, including Australia, China, South Korea, Thailand and Vietnam under reciprocal business travel agreements. However, conditions for entry to any of the countries as well as local quarantine measures vary.
For instance, people who seek entry to Vietnam will be required to undergo polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests prior to their travel and report their health condition online within 24 hours of departure.
South Korea, which has also confirmed infections with the new strains of the virus, is now requiring noncitizen travelers from abroad to submit a certification saying they had tested negative for COVID-19 and had undergone the test within 48 hours of their application for a visa. All travelers to South Korea are also subject to strict quarantine measures, except for diplomats and others who are deemed to be conducting important business, and may face legal consequences if they violate related laws.
Pre-entry tests conducted within three days prior to departure for Taiwan are also mandatory for travelers there until Feb. 28.
Amid concerns about potential infections with the new variants of COVID-19, the Philippines added Japan to the list of 20 countries whose citizens and residents are barred from entry through Jan. 15.
Countries are revising travel restrictions frequently as the situation changes. Travelers from Japan should check the latest information on the Foreign Ministry’s website or the website of their destination’s embassy before departure.
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