Tokyo, December 26: A couple of days after confirming the detection of at least five persons infected with the new variant of coronavirus, the government of Japan has now decided to shut down its borders for all outsiders. The country would be imposing a blanket ban on fresh flight arrivals, till the threat of mutated COVID-19 virus subsides.

The ban will come into effect on Monday, and continue till the end of January, top officials were reported as saying by the regional media. The restriction, however, would be relaxed for Japanese citizens who want to return to the country within the one-month period. Japan Confirms Detection of COVID-19's New 'UK Variant B117', Case Count Hits Record-High.

On Friday, the health department had confirmed the detection of two persons in Osaka and three in Tokyo with the new coronavirus strain. They had recently returned from the United Kingdom - which has emerged as the latest hotspot of the pandemic due to the mutated virus.

The flight restrictions by Japan were announced on a day when the country recorded yet another record-high daily case count. The infections' tally rose by 3,881 in the past 24 hours, with Tokyo accounting for over 900 of the new cases.

This was the fourth consecutive day when Japan recorded more than 3,000 new infections. Experts fear that the new strain of virus may had already spread in several pockets, which could be the reason behind the sharp spike. The mutated coronavirus linked to UK is considered to be "70 percent more transmissible".

(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Dec 26, 2020 10:06 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website