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As Japan further tightens its borders, the country has asked international airlines to stop taking new reservations for all incoming flights.
Japan’s transportation ministry said the request is a precaution for the growing concern over the new omicron variant. While those who have already made reservations are not affected by the latest directive, flights may be cancelled if there are insufficient passengers. Transit flights are also unaffected.
The move comes as Japan confirmed a second case of the omicron variant in a person who arrived from Peru via Doha, one day after it reported its first case in a Namibian diplomat. At the moment, there are three reported cases of omicron variant in Japan.
The decision was a disappointment for people who were planning trips during the holiday season, including Japanese citizens living overseas hoping to return home for the New Year period. It prompted reactions from many people on social media who claimed that the latest restrictions is similar to when Japan was a hermit country in the past.
Japan was quick to shut its borders when the omicron variant made rounds in South Africa and The World Health Organization warned that the global risk from the omicron variant is “very high” based on early evidence, saying it could lead to surges with “severe consequences.”
The latest variant also scrapped the partial reopening of the country to business travellers and international students.
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