BY MAGDALENA OSUMI, STAFF WRITER
Good news for travelers from countries and territories including the U.K. and Pakistan.
Amid the constantly changing pandemic situation and falling coronavirus cases in some parts of the world as inoculation campaigns pick up steam, Japan has relaxed its strict quarantine measures for about two dozen countries and regions.
The changes will take effect Saturday.
Following the latest revision, travelers from India, the Maldives, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Zambia will no longer be covered by a 10-day mandatory quarantine in government-designated facilities. Their stay in such facilities will be shortened to six days, and there is a requirement to undergo tests for COVID-19 on arrival and on the third and sixth days. Only those who test negative will be allowed to move to facilities of their choosing or return home for the remainder of the 14-day self-isolation period.
However, despite the change, an entry ban will remain in place for foreign nationals, including residents of Japan, coming from India, the Maldives, Nepal and Sri Lanka. Exceptions will be given to those seeking entry under special circumstances, such as those who are spouses of Japanese citizens.
Meanwhile, as the situation is improving in Britain, Malaysia, Pakistan and Moscow, the mandatory quarantine period in government-picked facilities for those countries is set to be shortened to three days from the current six. COVID-19 tests will be done on arrival and on the third day. With the change, Japan will also lift the entry ban on foreign nationals arriving from Pakistan.
Dominica and Uganda have been removed from the list covered by extra quarantine measures, which means that travelers from those countries can self-isolate at home, although a ban on using public transport will still apply to them.
However, not all countries and regions will see quarantine measures eased. Due to rising numbers of COVID-19 cases, Japan will require people coming from countries such as France, Israel and Lebanon to once again spend the first three days of their stay in Japan in government-picked hotels. The three countries were previously covered by the same measures, which were later eased when the situation temporarily improved.
The group of countries and regions covered by the three-day quarantine period in government-chosen facilities will also include Andorra, Cambodia, Malta and Mozambique, as well as four American states ー Alaska, Nebraska, South Carolina and Tennessee. The same measure will also apply to several regions in Russia ー Amur Oblast, Kabardino-Balkarian Republic, North Ossetia-Alania Republic, Oryol Oblast and Volgograd Oblast.
Arrivals from those regions will also be subjected to additional tests for COVID-19 on the third day after their arrival.
The policy has been periodically revised since earlier this year due to rising concerns over possible risks of imported infections from the delta variant of the coronavirus. Further changes are expected to occur throughout the pandemic.