TOKYO – The authorities in Japan have confirmed that the government was exploring the option to introduce mandatory screening for Tuberculosis for inbound travelers from six countries.
In this regard, Health Minister, Keizo Takemi, said they may implement tuberculosis screening for travelers coming from China, Indonesia, Myanmar, Nepal, the Philippines, and Vietnam for those who plan to stay for three months or longer.
The minister also confirmed that the many new TB cases in Japan came from these countries; as per the plan, the flyers will be asked to be tested at Japanese government-designated medical institutions before they travel and in case of positive cases, Japan will not issue visas to those individuals.
“We are making preparations for implementation as soon as possible,” Takemi said without giving any timeline.
Japan is seeing an influx of visitors from China. Japan’s National Tourism Organization says of the roughly 19.8 million visitors to the country in the first 10 months of the year, some 320,000 tourists came from mainland China, and roughly 150,000 flew in from Hong Kong.
As far as the severity of the infection is concerned, mainland China has a rate of 52 TB cases per 100,000 people, according to World Health Organization data while Hong Konog’s Centre for Health reported 50.13 cases per 100,000 people in 2021.
The World Health Organization (WHO) cautions that TB is the largest infectious killer after Covid-19, killing 1.3 million people last year.
Though countries across the globe have largely lifted social distancing protocols, the imposition of TB screening by Japan confirms that fresh travel bans might be on the card as far as Japan is concerned, a situation which might explode in days to come bringing toturism to its knees once again.