Japan has also suspended the 14-day quarantine exemption for Japanese nationals and foreign residents in a short-term plan that began in November. Participants must now carry a negative test certificate 72 hours before departure to Japan and self-quarantine two weeks after arriving in Japan.
Since November, Japan has been dealing with a surge in cases. It has confirmed a total of 217,312 cases, including 3,213 deaths, an increase of 3,700 from the previous 24 hours. Although experts and government officials called for people to spend a “quiet” holiday, 949 cases were reported in Tokyo alone, setting a new record.
Elsewhere in Asia Pacific:
—Despite the surge in coronavirus cases in South Korea, South Korea has decided not to immediately implement the strictest distance rules in the Greater Seoul area. The area currently has the second highest distance rule. There have been calls for raising restrictions to the highest level, but due to economic concerns, the government is reluctant to do so. Health Minister Kwon Deok-cheol said on Sunday that the government will maintain the current restrictions in the Seoul area until January 3. He said that the third-highest distance isolation regulations implemented in other regions will also remain until January 3. South Korea recorded an average of 999 new cases every day last week, of which 690 were in the Seoul area. According to current regulations, nightclubs, karaoke rooms, fitness centers, gyms and cram schools in the Seoul area have been temporarily suspended. As a further measure, the authorities banned social gatherings of more than five people last week and ordered the closure of ski resorts and other tourist attractions. The strictest restrictions will shut down thousands of businesses and order companies to let all unnecessary employees work from home. A total of 56,872 cases have been reported in South Korea, including 808 deaths.
—Beijing authorities have reported five new cases of locally transmitted coronavirus because they are eager to conduct large-scale tests on residents. The five cases related to the early infection live in the Shunyi district of the city, which has since initiated an emergency plan including large-scale testing, source tracking and disinfection. As of noon on Saturday, more than 1