Past 20 months, international students in Japan have gone through a rollercoaster ride of emotions as they patiently waited for the reopening of the country’s borders.
The country previously announced that they will begin accepting foreign nationals coming to the country for business trips and international students from November 8, but the new Omicron COVID-19 strain has led to a new ban to take place from Tuesday, said local reports.
Omicron, first discovered in southern Africa, represents a fresh challenge to global efforts to battle the pandemic. Several countries have already re-imposed restrictions many had hoped were a thing of the past.
The variant was first detected in South Africa last week and has since spread to several European countries as well as Australia, Canada, Hong Kong and Israel. Israel was the first country to seal its borders which have led authorities worldwide to react rapidly in distress.
On Monday (November 29), Japan followed suit and said it would ban the entry of all foreign nationals starting Tuesday. This includes business travellers, interns and international students in Japan. It does not include foreign residents re-entering Japan and Japanese nationals.
Japan’s National Institute of Infectious Diseases declared the Omicron variant the second-highest warning level in its three-tier variant alert.
This move comes a day after the country tightened restrictions for people who have recently been to Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said.
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