Japan to maintain strict border controls: PM Kishida

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Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has said that Japan will keep its strict border control measures “for the time being” amid concerns over the Omicron variant of Covid-19.

Kishida, speaking at a press conference after a 16-day extraordinary Diet session, said the community spread of Omicron has not happened in Japan, but the country needs to beef up precautionary measures by speeding up booster shots plans and promoting orally administered Covid-19 drugs, Xinhua news agency reported.

“Scientific evaluations have yet to be established regarding how transmissible Omicron is and how serious the disease (caused by it) will get,” said Kishida, who became prime minister in October, placing priority on anti-Covid-19 measures.

“We have decided to extend the current border control measures (put in place in late November) for the time being,” he said.

The government has banned new entries by foreigners from abroad while requiring returning Japanese nationals and foreign residents to quarantine in government-designated facilities.

The prime minister also said those who were found infected with Covid-19 will be tested for the Omicron variant in Japan.

The country is currently making an effort to accelerate its vaccination program, rolling out third shots of Covid-19 vaccines and giving priority to health care workers and senior citizens.

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