Japan confirms first case of COVID-19 Omicron variant: Report

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Japan on Tuesday confirmed its first case of the Omicron coronavirus variant, a day after authorities announced new COVID-19 border restrictions.

“Regarding the traveler arriving from Namibia, it was confirmed to be a case of Omicron after analysis at the National Institute of Infectious Diseases,” government spokesman Hirokazu Matsuno told reporters.

“This is the first Omicron case confirmed in Japan,” he said, adding that the infected traveler, a man in his 30s, is now in isolation at a medical facility.

The announcement came a day after Japan tightened its border rules again, barring all new foreign arrivals just weeks after relaxing tough regulations to allow some students and business travelers entry.

The new rules mean only Japanese citizens and existing foreign residents can enter the country, with few exemptions, and those coming from areas with known Omicron cases require hotel quarantines ranging from three to 10 days.

Japan has recorded just over 18,300 coronavirus cases during the pandemic, while avoiding tough lockdowns.

After a slow start, its vaccination program picked up speed and nearly 77 percent of the population is fully vaccinated.

AFP

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