By KAI ICHINO/ Staff Writer
September 23, 2021 at 13:49 JST
A quarantine officer at Narita International Airport in May (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
In another step toward normalcy, Japan will soon ease quarantine curbs for fully vaccinated travelers, exempting them from a three-day isolation period at a designated accommodation facility.
The health ministry decided on Sept. 22 to loosen the COVID-19 border control measure, which will take effect next week.
Currently, those arriving in Japan from countries and regions where COVID-19 strains are spreading are required to follow a 14-day quarantine rule, which requires a stay at a government-designated facility for at least three days.
But under the new rule, such a requirement will be lifted and entrants from all countries and regions who show proof of being fully vaccinated will only be required to self-quarantine at home for 10 days.
Travelers need to show proof that they have been fully vaccinated with one of the three vaccines that have been approved for use in Japan--Pfizer, Moderna or AstraZeneca.
After self-quarantining at home for 10 days, entrants will be required to pass a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test for COVID-19 before they can freely go about their business.
By combining vaccination proof and testing, the ministry has concluded that it can lower the risk of letting infected travelers into Japan.
Japan has been gradually loosening its strict COVID-19 border controls.
Starting from Sept. 20, entrants have been exempted from the three-day quarantine at a designated accommodation except for those arriving from 45 countries and regions, including Britain, India and Indonesia.
The ministry said it will tighten border controls if a new COVID-19 strain that weakens the vaccines’ effectiveness becomes a problem.
Some in economic circles have urged the government to ease the restrictions further.
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