TOKYO — Japan has requested worldwide airways to cease taking new reservations for all flights arriving in Japan till the tip of December because the nation additional tightens its border controls towards a brand new coronavirus variant, the transportation ministry stated Wednesday.
It stated the request is an emergency precaution amid rising concern over the unfold of the brand new omicron variant.
Those that have already made reservations are usually not affected, though flights could also be canceled if there are inadequate passengers, the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism stated. Transit passengers are additionally unaffected, it stated. Japan is a significant transit hub for flights to and from Asia.
The transfer comes as Japan confirmed a second case of the omicron variant in an individual who arrived from Peru, at some point after it reported its first case in a Namibian diplomat.
Japan banned all overseas guests beginning Tuesday as an emergency precaution towards the brand new variant. The ban tentatively extends by the tip of the yr. The federal government can be requiring Japanese residents arriving within the nation to quarantine for as much as 14 days.
The World Well being Group warned Monday that the worldwide threat from the omicron variant is “very excessive” based mostly on early proof, saying it may result in surges with “extreme penalties.”
Japan on Wednesday began providing coronavirus vaccine booster pictures to well being care employees amid rising considerations over the brand new variant.
Japan’s preliminary vaccination drive kicked off in mid-February and a few medical employees who acquired pictures greater than 9 months in the past are actually desirous to get further safety forward of a attainable new wave of infections.
A lot stays unknown in regards to the new variant, together with whether or not it’s extra contagious, as some well being authorities suspect, whether or not it makes folks extra severely unwell, and whether or not it will probably thwart the vaccine.
A gaggle of nurses and docs acquired booster pictures on the Tokyo Medical Middle.
“It’s an vital first step for our sufferers and their households to be handled with a way of security,” stated hospital chief Kazuhiro Araki.
Regardless that the efficacy of vaccines towards the brand new variant continues to be being examined, booster pictures are vital, Araki stated, as a result of the vaccines stay efficient towards different strains of the virus, together with delta, which put heavy strain on Japan’s well being care programs this summer time.
Those that acquired their second shot eight months in the past are eligible for a 3rd shot to stop breakthrough infections. Eligibility could also be shortened to 6 months if there’s a resurgence of infections, officers stated.
Japan’s vaccination rollout received off to a gradual begin however surged from late Could, and now about 77% of the inhabitants has been absolutely vaccinated — a foremost motive consultants cite for Japan’s regular slowing of infections since September.
Booster pictures for aged folks, who acquired their preliminary inoculations beginning in April, are anticipated to start in January.