Here are the latest COVID-19 updates from Japan and beyond:
As of 11 p.m., Wednesday, Dec. 1
- The Japanese government has scrapped its plan to send former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe as a special envoy to Malaysia this month amid mounting concerns over the Omicron variant of the coronavirus, a person familiar with the decision said Wednesday.
- All Nippon Airways Co. and Japan Airlines Co. said Wednesday they have stopped accepting reservations for inbound international flights to Japan in line with a government request to stem the spread of the Omicron variant of the novel coronavirus.
- Japan confirmed its second case of the Omicron variant of the novel coronavirus Wednesday, the top government spokesman said, as the country announced it will deny entry to all foreigners from 10 African countries feared to have outbreaks of the strain.
- Japan on Wednesday started administering COVID-19 booster shots to individuals who received their second shot at least eight months ago amid growing concerns about the spread of a new coronavirus variant.
- South Korea reported Wednesday that its daily coronavirus case count surpassed 5,000 for the first time, with concerns growing over the Omicron virus variant that is suspected to have already arrived in the country.
- The confirmation of the first case of the new Omicron variant of the coronavirus in Japan on Tuesday has rekindled anxiety among businesses over an economic downturn, as the threat of restrictions looms close once again.
As of 11 p.m., Tuesday, Nov. 30
- South Korea on Tuesday resumed tours of the Panmunjeom border village inside the demilitarized zone separating the two Koreas, after they were suspended in early July due to the coronavirus pandemic.
- Japan has confirmed the first case in the country of infection by the Omicron variant of the novel coronavirus, believed to be highly contagious, a government source said Tuesday.
- Tokyo stocks fell for the third straight session Tuesday, with the Nikkei index ending at an almost two-month low, on renewed concern over the effectiveness of existing vaccines for the Omicron variant of the coronavirus.
- Japanese pharmaceutical firm Shionogi & Co. is considering developing a vaccine for the new Omicron variant of the novel coronavirus, one of its officials said Tuesday.
- Australia said late Monday it will delay the reopening of its international border by two weeks until Dec. 15 as authorities assess the risk of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus.
- Japan's shortage of health care workers is impacting families of hospitalized children, with a recent survey showing approximately 85 percent of affected parents are forced to regularly care full-time for their kids despite paying patient fees.
- The United States on Monday implemented a ban on the entry of foreign travelers from eight countries in southern Africa amid growing concerns over a new variant of the coronavirus that was initially detected in South Africa.
Useful resources for foreign residents and visitors in Japan
- Health ministry call center
COVID-19: 0120-565-653 (toll free)
COVID-19 Vaccines: 0120-761-770 (toll free)
-Interpreters available for English, Chinese, Korean, Portuguese and Spanish 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.; for Thai 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.; for Vietnamese 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
- Health ministry's COVID-19 Vaccine Navigation website
- AMDA Medical Information Center's "Multilingual Consultation Service"
- Available in Simple Japanese and English, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekdays. Also available in Chinese, Korean, Portuguese, Spanish, Tagalog, Thai, and Vietnamese on designated weekdays. Check schedule here.
- Tokyo Metropolitan Government's COVID-19 info
- Tokyo Metropolitan Government hotline
- Available in English, Chinese, Korean and Japanese, 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. (including weekends and holidays)
- Available via fax for those with hearing impairments
- Japan National Tourism Organization's "Guide for when you are feeling ill"
- Multilingual clinic/hospital search available in English, Korean, Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese, Japanese
- JNTO's "Japan Visitor Hotline"
- Available in English, Chinese, Korean and Japanese 24 hours a day
+81-50-3816-2787 (from overseas)