Japan decided on Saturday to temporarily suspend the entry of foreigners, after confirming a total of seven cases of a new variant of coronavirus identified in Britain, local media reported.
The suspension will begin Monday and run through the end of January, Kyodo News reported, citing government officials.
On Saturday it was confirmed that two more people had been infected with a new variant of the coronavirus.
The country has reported a national record of more than 3,870 new cases, marking the largest daily increase for the fourth day in a row.
The two are a pilot who stayed in Britain and one of his relatives, and they have been hospitalized in Tokyo, according to the Health Ministry.
The ministry reported its first cases of a new coronavirus variant identified in Britain on Friday.
Five people were quarantined after the infection was confirmed upon arrival from Britain between December 18 and 21, Health Minister Norihisa Tamura said at a press conference.
A man in his 60s experienced fatigue, while the other four had no symptoms, the ministry said in a statement.
All five arrived before Japan on Thursday began imposing a temporary ban on foreign visitors from Britain.
Currently, only Japanese citizens and foreigners with resident status can enter the country. They must go into quarantine for 14 days after arrival.
Meanwhile, there were 949 new cases in Tokyo, also the highest single-day count, as the government urged the public to refrain from social gatherings during the New Year holidays.
The national figure of more than 3,870 new cases surpassed the previous single-day record of 3,828 on Friday.
Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga called on the public on Friday for a “quiet” end of the year and a New Years period, as Japan has been hit by a third wave of new coronavirus infections since mid-November.
Japan has so far escaped a virus outbreak on the scale of Europe and the United States, with a total of around 219,000 known infections and more than 3,200 deaths from Covid-19.