TOKYO — Japan has asked airlines to stop taking new reservations for international flights into the country through the end of the month amid concerns about the new coronavirus variant, omicron.
According to The Associated Press, the move, which does not affect already existing reservations, came as Japan reported a second person in the country – a person who traveled from Peru – tested positive for the variant. The first case involved a diplomat from Namibia, the AP reported.
On Monday, Japan announced it was barring entry of foreign visitors, one day after Morocco’s foreign ministry tweeted that it is temporarily suspending incoming international flights. On Friday, the United States also said it would restrict travel from South Africa, where the variant was first detected, as well as Botswana, Zimbabwe, Eswatini, Mozambique, Malawi, Namibia and Lesotho, The New York Times previously reported.
Although the new variant has been detected in the United Kingdom, several European Union countries, Canada, Australia, Israel and Hong Kong, no cases have been reported in the U.S., according to the AP. Infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci, however, told “Weekend Today” on Saturday that he “would not be surprised” if omicron was already circulating here.
On Tuesday, Oxford University’s Our World in Data project reported that so far, 54.5% of people worldwide have received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine. More than 79% of Japan’s residents have received at least one vaccine dose, compared with about 70% of Americans, according to the data.
– The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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