Japan said Tuesday it will strengthen border controls to keep new coronavirus variants at bay by requiring its citizens and resident foreigners returning from 13 other countries including Austria and Italy to go through additional quarantine measures.

Returnees from the 13 countries where new virus variants are feared to be spreading will be newly asked to stand by at a designated facility after arrival for a retest for the virus on the third day after entering the country, effective Friday.

An arrival lobby for international flights is seen deserted at Kansai airport in Osaka Prefecture on Jan. 5, 2021, amid the novel coronavirus pandemic. (Kyodo) ==Kyodo

The new requirement will be added to the current measures of turning in negative testing results within 72 hours of departure and taking a coronavirus test upon arrival.

The 13 countries are Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Nigeria, Slovakia, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Arab Emirates.

The countries join Ireland, Israel, Amazonas state in Brazil, Britain and South Africa that have already been subject to the strengthened quarantine measures for concerns over spreading new coronavirus variants.

Even if negative in all the coronavirus tests, using public transportation will be prohibited until completing the rest of the 14-day self-quarantine period.

Japan currently bans all entries of nonresident foreigners except for those given approval under "special exceptional circumstances."