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Japan Adds 7 Prefectures to COVID-19 State of Emergency (Updated)

posted on by Egan Loo
Japan to suspend entry of foreigners again, Ghibli Museum delays re-opening to January 22

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga confirmed on Wednesday that the government is expanding the state of emergency to seven more prefectures — Osaka, Hyogo, Kyoto, Aichi, Fukuoka, Gifu, and Tochigi — in response to the high rate of new infections of the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19). The state of emergency already began in Tokyo and the neighboring prefectures of Saitama, Kanagawa, and Chiba on Friday, January 8, and it will remain in place until Sunday, February 7.

The state of emergency now covers eight of Japan's 10 most populous prefectures and over half of the nation's population.

Suga also confirmed that the Japanese government is suspending the entry of almost all foreigners again. The government had already denied the entry of foreign non-residents from most countries last month, due a new variant of SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) that was discovered at the same time new infections rose in the United Kingdom and other countries. However, last month's denial of entry did not apply to business visitors from China and nine other Asian countries. Japan is now denying entry to all non-resident visitors from these countries as well, except for special reasons, such as a relative's funeral or childbirth.

The Ghibli Museum announced on Wednesday that it has delayed its re-opening by one week from January 15 to January 22. Tickets will go on sale one week in advance, starting on January 15. (The Ghibli Museum has been closed since November for maintenance.)

Sources: NHK (link 2), Ghibli Museum

Update: Clarified last month's discovery of a new SARS-CoV-2 variant and the subsequent denial of entry for most foreign visitors. Thanks, ximpalullaorg and samuelp.

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