Life & Leisure

Japan to allow docking of international cruises after more than 2 years

Tokyo, Nov 15 (EFE).- Japan reopened its ports to international cruises on Tuesday, after a two and a-half year ban due to the covid-19 pandemic, in order to increase tourism.

Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism believes it has taken sufficient measures and established necessary guidelines regarding infectious diseases and related crisis management, according to a statement released on Tuesday.

From now on, cruise companies will get in touch with respective port authorities to obtain permission and tourist trips will reopen gradually, it added.

The arrival of international cruise ships in Japan was banned after the Diamond Princess crisis, which happened to be in Japanese waters in February 2022 when a covid-19 outbreak was detected onboard in the initial days of the pandemic.

The nearly 3,700 passengers and crew members onboard the ship stayed in quarantine for two weeks, while it was docked at the Yokohama port.

According to official data, more than 700 people were infected and at least 13 died due to the poor and much-criticized handling of the outbreak, which led to Japanese authorities suspending international cruises.

The guidelines established in order to prevent a similar health crisis require all crew members to have received at least three doses of the covid-19 vaccine and more than 95 percent of the passengers to have been vaccinated at least twice.

Passengers who are suspected to be infected by the coronavirus will have to submit a test and those who test positive will need to be isolated along with people they had close contact with.

The Japanese government expects that reopening international cruises will help in reviving tourism.

In 2019, before the pandemic broke out, around 2.5 million tourists arrived in Japan onboard cruise ships, with 1,932 trips organized by international companies and 934 by Japanese firms, according to government data.

International cruises in the United States and Europe resumed services in summer of 2021, while Japan is reopening the sector now, in line with its recent easing of border controls. EFE


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