Japan ends comprehensive COVID-19 testing of visitors from China


Japan announced on Monday that it will end comprehensive COVID-19 testing of visitors from China effective Wednesday, with the rate of positive tests dropping recently.

Quarantine officials will randomly select and test travelers from China at Japanese airports, and such visitors must provide evidence of a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of departure. Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno said at a press conference that it is necessary to continue to present it.

Passengers from Shanghai arrive at Narita Airport near Tokyo on December 30, 2022. A billboard (L) is seen showing the Japanese government’s new travel restrictions requiring all air travelers from mainland China to undergo an antigen test upon arrival. (Kyodo)

Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno (Joint) at a press conference in Tokyo on February 27, 2023

In China, the number of new coronavirus infections exploded last December after Beijing began to significantly relax its strict “zero COVID” policy, including lockdowns and quarantines.

Meanwhile, the government, led by Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, will abolish rules restricting direct flights between Japan and China to four major airports: Narita, Haneda, Kansai and Chubu.

The government will also allow airlines to increase the number of direct flights to and from China, while Japan tightened its quarantine measures for arrivals from China in late December.

Currently, travelers from China, including those who have visited China within the past 7 days, are required to undergo a PCR or high-sensitivity antigen test upon arrival in Japan.

Anyone who tests positive must be quarantined at a designated facility for up to seven days.

Relaxed border controls will come as less than 1% of travelers from China have tested positive for COVID-19 since late January, and only a limited range of mutations have been found, the health ministry said. said.

After Japan stepped up its COVID-19 measures against Chinese citizens, the Communist Party-led government suspended visa issuance to Japanese citizens in early January and resumed services later in the month.

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