Some returnees to self-isolate at home amid fears of quarantine accommodation shortage

The government has announced that some people returning to Japan would be asked to self-isolate at home as tougher border measures against the new omicron coronavirus variant could lead to a shortage of rooms at designated quarantine facilities.

Returnees traveling from certain locations are currently being asked to quarantine at designated facilities for three to 10 days, depending on the country or region from which they had traveled.

Among them, returnees who had been subject to three-day quarantines, because the locations they traveled from were not on the omicron watchlist, will be asked to self-isolate at home or elsewhere if they are fully vaccinated.

Measures will also be in place to transport some of the people who arrive at Narita Airport and other airports to facilities near Chubu Airport in Aichi Prefecture that have relatively more capacity to accommodate people during their quarantine periods.

From Sunday, the total number of countries and regions on Japan’s omicron watchlist will increase to 40. New locations added to the list include Hawaii, New York, Colorado and Minnesota in the United States; Karnataka in India; Greece and Romania.

“We will strive to grasp the situation of the omicron variant with a strong sense of urgency and make necessary decisions promptly,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno said at a press conference on Friday.