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Japan Shuts Border To Foreign Nationals Amid New COVID-19 Strain
Japanese flag and cherry blossoms
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Japan has shut its borders to foreign nationals amid the surge of a new strain of COVID-19 that has recently spread across the United Kingdom.

The ban will go into effect Monday and last until Jan. 31, according to The Associated Press.

Japan banned nonresident foreigners from the U.K. and South Africa last week after seven people tested positive for the new COVID-19 strain, five of whom were tested at airports and two of whom tested positive in Tokyo.

Japan has also instituted a rule that demands even Japanese nationals coming to the country from abroad must test negative 72 hours prior to leaving and self-isolate for two weeks upon arriving.

Japan has seen a surge of COVID-19 cases since November, having confirmed 217,312 cases and 3,213 deaths.

The new mutation of COVID-19, which is believed to have originated in the U.K., is potentially more contagious and has led to 40 countries restricting travel from the U.K., according to CNN. In the weekend before Christmas, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson instituted an emergency lockdown on London and southeastern England.

As The Daily Wire reported:

London experienced a “wild weekend exodus” on Saturday as residents scrambled to escape the city after the United Kingdom’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson declared a top-down emergency lockdown and “canceled Christmas” over concerns about a “new version” of the virus that causes COVID-19.

The New York Times reports that Johnson “abruptly reversed course on Saturday and imposed a wholesale lockdown on London and most of England’s southeast, banning Christmas-season gatherings beyond individual households,” following “evidence of a [COVID-19] variant first detected several weeks ago in southeast England, which the prime minister asserted was as much as 70 percent more transmissible than previous versions.”

Japan follows in the wake of other nations that have taken precautions to stop the new mutation from infecting their countries.

As The Daily Wire reported:

Ireland, Canada, and several nations of Europe have restricted travel to and from the United Kingdom following Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s announcement of a new lockdown Saturday after a new, highly contagious strain of COVID-19 apparently emerged in London and areas of southern England.

France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Belgium, Austria, Ireland, and Bulgaria have all responded to Johnson’s edict by either banning or severely restricting travel from the U.K., according to The Associated Press.

France banned all travel from the U.K. for 48 hours beginning midnight Sunday, going so far as to forbid freight-bearing trucks traveling under the English Channel. “French officials said the pause would buy time to find a ‘common doctrine’ on how to deal with the threat, but it threw the busy cross-channel route used by thousands of trucks a day into chaos,” the AP reported.

Flights from the U.K. to Germany were also halted, as were trains from London to Paris, Brussels, and Amsterdam.

Related: More People Committed Suicide In Japan Last Month Than Have Died All Year From Coronavirus: Report

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