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Japan to ban new entries of foreigners until end-January: Report

Japan on Friday reported its first cases of a fast-spreading variant in passengers arriving from Britain.

December 26, 2020 / 08:36 PM IST

Japan on Saturday said it would temporarily ban non-resident foreign nationals from entering the country as it tightens its borders following the detection of a new, highly infectious variant of the coronavirus.

The ban will take effect from Dec. 28 and will run through January, the government said in an emailed statement.

Japanese citizens and foreign residents will be allowed to enter but must show proof of a negative coronavirus test 72 hours before departing for Japan and must quarantine for two weeks after arrival, the statement said.

Japan on Friday reported its first cases of a fast-spreading variant in passengers arriving from Britain. The new variant 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.

The new strain adds to worries about a surge in cases as Tokyo reported another record rise on Saturday.

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COVID-19 Vaccine

Frequently Asked Questions

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How does a vaccine work?

A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.

How many types of vaccines are there?

There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.

What does it take to develop a vaccine of this kind?

Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.

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Infections of the virus that causes COVID-19 hit a record 949 in the capital just as Japan heads into New Year holidays that normally see people stream from the capital into the provinces.</p><p>Serious cases were unchanged from a day earlier at 81.

Tokyo transport hubs were subdued, local media said, a day after Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, under pressure as cases continue to climb, urged the nation to stay home and avoid social mixing.

With New Year celebrations centred around family gatherings and mass visits to temples and shrines, experts have warned public restraint will be essential to prevent infection rates from rising further amid concerns of pandemic fatigue.

Suga's initial political honeymoon after taking his post in September has ended, with his popularity sliding after criticism he was slow to react to rising infections in Tokyo and for attending a group steak dinner in defiance of his own calls for caution.

Follow our full coverage of the coronavirus pandemic here.
Reuters
first published: Dec 26, 2020 08:19 pm

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