TOKYO: Japan and Maldives have announced a ban on flights from several countries including Pakistan and India, in a bid to contain surging COVID-19 infections.
The Maldives has banned travellers from across South Asia despite having one of the world’s most successful vaccination roll-outs. The Maldives, whose economy relies on tourists visiting its pristine atolls, has suffered a more than 15-fold increase in daily infections in the past week.
Authorities said tourist arrivals from the key Indian market and other South Asian countries would stop from Thursday. They have already banned the entry of foreign labourers from around South Asia except health workers.
“These restrictions apply to travellers originating from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka,” Maldives Immigration said in a statement. Anyone who has only transited through South Asia would also be included, it added.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan said the country had decided to ban flights from 152 countries, including Pakistan and India. The ban will come into place from tomorrow. The ministry said the decision had been taken in light of the rapid spread of COVID-19 after several variants of the virus had emerged.
Permanent residents and people holding work visas will also not be allowed to enter the country; only Japanese nationals have been granted permission, the ministry said.