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In a major change to border-control measures, Japan will from Monday allow re-entry to all returnees from six countries blacklisted over the spread of the highly contagious delta variant of the coronavirus.

The six countries — Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Maldives, Nepal and Sri Lanka — have been covered by a near-total entry ban on foreign nationals, including those who have been vaccinated and those with a valid residence status in Japan.

The entry ban was imposed earlier this year as part of Japan’s quarantine measures on all foreign nationals who spent time in the six countries within 14 days prior to their intended arrival.

The government announced Friday evening that the measure, which was introduced in June, would be lifted for the six nations.

The end of the entry ban for the six countries is part of a major revision of Japan’s quarantine policy. With the change, the government has introduced a three-day mandatory stay in government-designated facilities for travelers from more than 40 countries and regions due to the spread of the coronavirus and its variants, in particular.

Arrivals subject to the mandatory three-day measure will be required to undergo tests for COVID-19 on the third day of their stay in self-isolation after entering Japan, in addition to a test conducted on arrival.

Those who test negative will be allowed to return to their homes in Japan or to a facility of their choosing for the remainder of their 14-day quarantine period.

The measure will apply to: Afghanistan, Argentina, Bangladesh, Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, Britain, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Denmark, Dominica, Ecuador, Georgia, Greece, India, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Libya, Malaysia, the Maldives, Mozambique, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Paraguay, Peru, the Philippines, Portugal, Russia (but only arrivals from Khabarovsk and Moscow), Seychelles, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Suriname, Tanzania, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkey, U.A.E., Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Venezuela and Zambia.

Travelers coming from other countries and regions are still required to self-isolate after entering Japan.

Under the revised policy, the government has reassessed travel risks based on factors such as the number of infections in each of the listed countries or regions, the risk of the spread of variants and the countries’ respective COVID-19 vaccine rollouts.

If needed, the government said it would reimpose stricter quarantine measures such as a longer mandatory stay in government-picked facilities ー for six or 10 days ー along with additional tests for the coronavirus. Such rules might be reintroduced if the coronavirus situation abroad worsens. These measures would likely be accompanied by an entry ban for some foreign nationals, including residents of Japan.

Currently all people entering the country must self-isolate for 14 days at home or at other facilities and must not use public transportation throughout that time period.

Despite earlier promises by the government to shorten the quarantine period for people inoculated against the coronavirus from 14 to 10 days, that is not part of the latest changes.

Source: Japan Times