Alternative to inflight paper forms will speed up immigration clearance and Covid risk assessment
26 Sep 2020 at 14:13
TOKYO: Japan will introduce an online version of a health questionnaire that travellers are required to fill out before entering the country in order to streamline immigration control, sources familiar with the plan said on Saturday.
The online questionnaires, meant to flag travellers who are possibly at higher risk of arriving when infected with the coronavirus, will be available soon on a trial basis for some international flights arriving at Narita airport near Tokyo, they said.
The questionnaires are currently handed out in hard-copy form to travellers aboard inbound flights.
With the new system to be introduced more widely later this year, arriving passengers can complete the questionnaires on a dedicated website of the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry before their departure. They would be given a QR code that confirms they have completed the process and could then use that code upon arrival, according to the sources.
Japanese authorities said on Friday that the country would reopen its borders to all foreigners with permits to stay for three months or longer for purposes including medical, cultural and sports-related activities. Business trips for less than three months will also be allowed.
Travellers must be accepted by entities or organisations capable of ensuring they have tested negative for the virus before entering Japan. After arrival, they have to self-isolate for 14 days and avoid using public transport during the period.
The government is considering limiting the number of entries to about 1,000 each day. At the same time, it will increase virus testing capacity at airports, government sources said earlier.
Japan currently imposes an entry ban on 159 countries and regions. Foreigners who have been to any of those places within 14 days of their arrival are being turned away, with some exceptions.
But the government has started gradually rolling back its travel restrictions. Foreigners with resident status in Japan who had travelled outside the country have been allowed re-entry since earlier this month.
Expatriates and other long-term residents have been allowed to come from some Asian countries, including Vietnam and Thailand. Foreign students on government grants can also enter the country.
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