Japan bans foreign travelers amid spread of UK COVID strain

Japan is closed to visitors.

Aiming to slow the spread of the new, highly infectious coronavirus mutation first detected in the UK, Japan said it is temporarily banning people who don’t live there from entering the country.

The ban will take effect Monday and run through January, Reuters reported.

Japanese citizens and foreign residents will need proof of a negative coronavirus test 72 hours before traveling before they’re allowed to return. Travelers must quarantine for two weeks after they arrive, the government said.

Japan has found five cases of the fast-spreading variant in passengers arriving from Britain. It has also been detected in a man who visited the UK and a family member — the first cases of infected people found outside airport checks — Nippon TV reported on Saturday.

Multiple nations have banned or restricted travel to and from the UK as the rapidly spreading strain of the virus moves through the population there.

Tokyo reported 949 new cases on Saturday, a new high for the Japanese capital, as the country struggles with an upsurge that is spreading nationwide. Japan now has nearly 4,000 cases nationwide, according to the Associated Press.

Japan has not been able to slow the infections despite government requests for the people to avoid going out for dinner and parties during the holiday season.