Japan tightens travel restrictions with penalties for quarantine infractions

Tokyo, Jan 14 (efe-epa).- Japan has tightened its border controls with measures that will block entry to non-residents — with a few exemptions — and tougher penalties for those who fail to heed quarantine rules after arrival.

The new restrictions, which require any person who arrives in the country to grant permission for authorities to publicly reveal their name, nationality and any information that could help stem the spread of Covid-19, coincides with the extension of a state of alarm in the Asian country.

A total of 11 of the archipelago’s 47 prefectures, encompassing more than half the population and 60% of the national economy,  are under emergency rules until at least 7 February.

The state of emergency in Japan does not involve an order for residents to remain at home but authorities have requested that people only leave when strictly necessary. The hospitality industry will also close at the earlier time of 8 pm.

With the new travel rules coming into effect, the Japanese government has suspended its “business corridors” with 11 countries in the Asia-Pacific region. Some 11,500 thousands business workers, mainly from Vietnam and China, had used the corridor to visit Japan between 4 and 10 January, the justice ministry said.

For the first time since the pandemic began, the government has also established tougher penalties for those who break mandatory quarantine rules requiring recent arrivals to self-isolate for 14 days.

Japanese authorities now have the right to publicly name Japanese citizens who break the rules while foreigners could be deported and stripped of their residency rights, according to the foreign affairs ministry.

The health ministry can track recent arrivals through the mobile phone app Line.

The new measures come as Japan surpassed a total of 300,000 Covid-19 cases and 4,233 deaths since the pandemic began. EFE-EPA


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