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Japan suspends all incoming flights in December over COVID-19 concerns

By Simon Druker
Japan suspends all incoming flights in December over COVID-19 concerns
On Wednesday, Japan asked all airlines to suspend reservations on incoming international flights. The move is in response to growing fears over the Omicron variant of the COVID-19 virus. File Photo by Keizo Mori/UPI | License Photo

Dec. 1 (UPI) -- Japan's government took steps on Wednesday to suspend all air travel into the country for the month of December over growing concerns about the newest COVID-19 variant.

The country's transportation ministry is calling the move an "emergency measure" and hopes it won't last longer than the initial one-month period.

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The announcement comes after Japan recorded its second case of the Omicron variant.

That patient was fully vaccinated but tested positive upon arrival from Peru. The patient has now developed a fever and sore throat, after initially appearing asymptomatic.

The country asked its airlines to immediately stop issuing reservations on all incoming flights.

As of now, people with existing reservations will still be allowed to enter, although the possibility still exists that flights will be canceled due to lack of passengers.

On Monday, Japan banned all foreign visitors from entering the country.

Foreign residents returning to Japan from South Africa and nine other nearby countries will also not be allowed to return.

The ban will initially extend through to the end of the year. All Japanese citizens arriving in the country will now also be required to quarantine for up to 14 days.

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Also on Wednesday, the World Health Organization issued an advisory urging those over 60 to avoid international travel.

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