Severity: Critical Alert

Exit/Entry: Japan to allow essential travel from Singapore from Sept. 18. Other border measures ongoing. Large gathering limits remain through Sept. 30.

Alert Begins 14 Sep 2020 09:47 AM UTC
Alert Expires 30 Sep 2020 11:59 PM UTC

  • Incident: COVID-19 restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Indefinite
  • Impact: Travel and some business disruptions

Japan will allow essential business and official travel from Singapore beginning Sept. 18, with additional measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus disease (COVD-19). The country's first Business Track arrangement will permit short-term visitors to enter the country with limited quarantine time. Allowed travelers must take a COVID-19 test before departure and after arrival in Japan. Visitors must provide authorities with a copy of their itinerary, limit time spent in public, refrain from taking public transport, and remain in contact with health officials during the first 14 days of their visit.

Domestic Restrictions
Authorities continue to restrict large gatherings to 5,000 people nationwide. Nonessential businesses across the country can continue to operate, provided they adhere to directives aimed at curbing COVID-19 transmission. Most prefectures have ended state of emergency measures; however, some local governments may request that restaurants and bars limit operating hours. Tokyo has lowered its alert for COVID-19 to Level 3, the second-highest level, amid reduced COVID-19 activity, and the government will lift restrictions on entertainment establishments and eateries from Sept. 16. Requirements for companies to implement social distancing measures remain in place. Additional emergency declarations and related business restrictions are possible in areas where COVID-19 activity increases.

Domestic rail and flight disruptions remain possible, though demand has increased in recent weeks. Physical distancing requirements are in place on most long-distance transport services. Flights from South Korea and China are only authorized to land at Narita International Airport (NRT) and Kansai International Airport (KIX). Transit flights for foreign nationals are only allowed through NRT. International commercial flight disruptions will probably continue in the coming weeks, and possibly months, due to decreased demand amid travel restrictions. Authorities continue to suspend international passenger ferry services.

Travel Restrictions
An entry ban for most foreign nationals with a travel history to 159 countries and territories, including China, India, Pakistan, South Korea, the US, Australia, and all EU member countries, remains in place. Authorities permit permanent residents; foreigners with a student, work, or long-term resident visa: and spouses and children of Japanese nationals and permanent residents to enter, regardless of their departure date from the country. Eligible foreign nationals must get a Re-entry Confirmation Letter from the nearest Japanese diplomatic mission and provide documentation of a negative COVID-19 test result obtained within 72 hours of departure to enter the country. Officials are only accepting polymerase chain reaction (PCR), loop-mediated isothermal amplification method (LAMP), or chemiluminescence enzyme immunoassay (CLEIA) antigen tests.

Authorities require all passengers to undergo a PCR COVID-19 test upon arrival. Inbound travelers, including Japanese citizens, must quarantine for 14 days; isolation may take place at a designated facility or at home. Individuals under quarantine orders must refrain from using public transportation and download the government-support contact tracing mobile phone application.

Follow all official instructions. Postpone travel if affected by an entry ban. Allow additional time for immigration and health screenings. Consider delaying travel if experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19, as they may prompt increased scrutiny and delays. Confirm international flight reservations. Closely monitor national travel advisories, as additional restrictions to and from Japan are likely. Consider telecommuting options for staff. Make allowances for likely increased employee absenteeism and related business disruptions.

Exercise basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.

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