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Japan slams international border shut as Omicron fears grow

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Japan has closed its international border to foreign travellers

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida confirmed that Japan will close borders to new entries of foreign nationals, including business travellers, foreign students and foreign interns from Tuesday, as fears of the new omicron variant of COVID-19 grows.

“This is a preventive, emergency measure to avoid a worst-case scenario,” Kishida told reporters at the Prime Minister’s Office.

The entry ban does not affect foreign residents re-entering Japan and Japanese nationals. But Japanese citizens and foreign residents re-entering Japan traveling from 14 countries where cases of the omicron variant have been confirmed will be required to quarantine in government-designated facilities, Kishida said.

“This is an extraordinary measure for the time being just until we know more about the omicron variant,”

Kishida said.

Social distancing signs sit on benches at Haneda Airport in Tokyo, Japan, on Tuesday, July 28, 2020. Concern over the virus situation in Japan in growing as cases have surged in recent weeks. An outbreak initially thought confined to nighttime entertainment areas in Tokyo has spread to workplaces and across the country. Photographer: Noriko Hayashi/Bloomberg

Experts say Omicron should not cause panic

Leading infectious disease experts say the new variant may be more infectious than other strains, but relatively little is known about how transmissible and better able to evade the body’s immune responses it is.

According to Japanese media, the prime minister urged the public to remain calm, wear masks and maintain social distancing, stressing that the country has the highest vaccination rate among the Group of Seven countries.

PM Kishida also said that there had been one traveler from Namibia who tested positive for COVID.

It was unclear if the person had been infected with the omicron variant, but the sample had been sent to a lab for genomic testing.

On November 8, Japan started allowing new entries of foreign students and technical interns for the first time in nearly a year, provided they quarantine for 14 days, a span that would be shortened to 10 days if they those arriving are fully vaccinated.

The border closure announcement is especially bad news for foreign students

Foreign students make up the largest chunk of foreign nationals hoping to newly enter Japan — with many having already started paperwork to come after studying remotely from their home countries for up to more than a year.

Japan had been gradually tightening entry restrictions since the new variant began spreading quickly around the globe. Over the weekend, it required travelers from nine hot spots in Africa — Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Malawi and Zambia — to spend 10 days in government-designated quarantine facilities upon arrival.

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Essential daily protein needs for better health

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Protein is a fundamental macronutrient essential for various bodily functions, including muscle repair, enzyme production, and immune system support.

Daily protein requirements can vary significantly based on factors such as activity levels, age, and gender.

To help unpack this topic, Kate Save from BeFitFood joins to share her key insights. #featured

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Can big tech be trusted to use AI ethically?

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Big tech giants like Google, Microsoft, and IBM announced comprehensive plans to enhance AI safety measures – but is that enough to convince the everyday worker?

On this episode of Ahron & Mike Live – Can big tech be trusted with AI? “The Fall Guy” takes a hard hit, Apple’s Top Ten controversy and a robot performs surgery on a piece of corn.

Ticker’s Ahron Young & Mike Loder discuss. #featured

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Biden slams the brakes on EV overcapacity

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President Biden has imposed new tariffs on Chinese EV imports, just as the Chinese EV industry is facing a critical challenge: overcapacity.

The move comes amidst escalating trade tensions between the two economic giants, with repercussions likely to reverberate across the automotive sector.

David Zhang, the China Insider explores this issue and more. #featured #trending

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