Japan shifts low-risk entrants to isolation at home

TOKYO (Jiji Press) — The Japanese government started on Saturday shifting entrants from abroad who are at low risk of novel coronavirus infection from quarantine at accommodation facilities to isolation at home, due to a possible shortage of such facilities.

Speaking to reporters in Aizuwakamatsu, Fukushima Prefecture, northeastern Japan, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said the government has taken the step in line with its policy of concentrating medical resources on its response to the omicron variant of the coronavirus, after hearing opinions from specialists.

According to Kishida, the government currently requires people arriving in Japan from 62 countries and regions to be quarantined at hotels and other facilities for a certain period due to the spread of the omicron variants, raising the possibility that the government may run short of such facilities.

For entrants who needed to be isolated for three days at such facilities due to concerns over infection with other variants, the government has changed the directive and allowed them to stay at their homes on condition that they have been fully vaccinated.

The government has secured 7,350 rooms around international airports for isolating entrants with infection risks and plans to set aside an additional 2,000 or more rooms.

It will also use chartered planes to transport entrants from Narita International Airport near Tokyo to Chubu Centrair International Airport in Aichi Prefecture, central Japan, where there are enough rooms to accommodate such people.