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Japan, Israel close borders to all foreign visitors

Republika

With little available data to go on just yet regarding the newly discovered SARS-CoV-2 Covid19 virus variant known as Omicron, the world holds its breath as details on the variant of concern (VOC) trickle in regarding infectiousness and immunization effectiveness.


For Japan, however, the course of action is clear as they have suspended entry for all foreign visitors, after easing up on border control earlier last month.


Prime Minister Fumio Kishida made the announcement on November 29, with the restrictions taking effect the next day.


The stricter border control comes after Japan had initially only tightened entry conditions for those arriving from South Africa, where Omicron was first detected, and other nations that have recorded cases thus far.


These visitors were required to undergo quarantine for 10 days at government facilities set up for that purpose.


Meanwhile, Israel has also recently enacted a complete border shutdown for foreigners, in order to prevent Omicron from spreading into their country.


In a statement from Prime Minister Naftali Bennet, the ban was slated to be in effect for 14 days, giving officials time to learn more on the new variant of concern (VOC), particularly with regard to vaccine effectiveness.


Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked stated in a press briefing that authorities are acting on the assumption that Omicron is everywhere, and that vaccines will still provide protection, though, the level provided remains to be seen.


Israelis looking to return home, on the other hand, will be placed under mandatory quarantine regardless of vaccination status.


Quick responses from these nations contrast the local pace here, meanwhile, as the Philippine government initially opted to only expand its travel exclusion list rather than close its borders, as fully vaccinated foreign travelers were set to be allowed in for the holiday season.


Opening the country to foreign visitors was eventually reconsidered, and has since been banned as well.


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