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Japan halts all foreign arrivals over UK variant

The Foreign Ministry says the entry ban will start on Monday and last through January 31.

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People wearing face masks to help curb the spread of the coronavirus walk around the scrambled intersection at the Shibuya shopping district in Tokyo (Kyodo News via AP)

People wearing face masks to help curb the spread of the coronavirus walk around the scrambled intersection at the Shibuya shopping district in Tokyo (Kyodo News via AP)

People wearing face masks to help curb the spread of the coronavirus walk around the scrambled intersection at the Shibuya shopping district in Tokyo (Kyodo News via AP)

Japan is barring entry of all nonresident foreign nationals as a precaution against the new coronavirus variant that has spread across the UK.

The Foreign Ministry says the entry ban will start on Monday and last through January 31.

Last week, Japan banned nonresident foreigners coming from Britain and South Africa after confirming the new variant in seven people over the last two days — five from Britain who tested positive at airports and two others in Tokyo.

Japan is also suspending the exemption of a 14-day quarantine for Japanese nationals and resident foreigners in a short-track program that began in November.

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Japan’s Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga (Nicolas Datiche/Pool Photo via AP)

Japan’s Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga (Nicolas Datiche/Pool Photo via AP)

Japan’s Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga (Nicolas Datiche/Pool Photo via AP)

The entrants now must carry proof of a negative test 72 hours prior to departure for Japan and self-isolate for two weeks after arrival.

Japan is struggling with surging cases since November. It has confirmed a total of 217,312 cases including 3,213 deaths, up 3,700 from the previous 24-hour period.

Tokyo alone reported 949 cases, setting a new record, despite calls by experts and government officials for people to spend a “quiet” holiday season.

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