Purchase Insurance, Masks: Japan’s New Travel Rules
The government said on Tuesday that foreign visitors visiting Japan will be forced to wear masks, get private medical insurance, and be accompanied throughout their stay, as part of a progressive removal of COVID-19 restrictions.
As Japan resumes allowing visitors in phases later this week, the government announced Tuesday that foreign tourists would be required to wear face masks and get insurance to cover medical expenditures if they develop COVID-19.
The tourism ministry has put up recommendations for travel firms and hotels ahead of the restart of tourist arrivals on Friday. At first, only guided tours from 98 countries and areas with the lowest risk of infection will be allowed in, including the United States, the United Kingdom, China, South Korea, Indonesia, and Thailand.
“Understanding and adherence to the recommendations will result in the seamless resumption and expansion of inbound tourism,” Tetsuo Saito, minister of land, infrastructure, transport, and tourism, said at a news conference.
According to the rules, travel companies will get tour participants’ approval to comply with the measures by explaining to them during the sale or reservation of tours that they will not be fined if they do not comply, but they may be unable to participate in tours.
The recommendations also stipulate that travel operators will plan tour itineraries to avoid congested regions, choose facilities with comprehensive antivirus protection, and gather information on multilingual medical facilities and motels for isolation.
While in Japan, the organizations will transport tour participants affected with the new coronavirus to medical facilities and provide care until they leave. They will also encourage participants to contact them within a week after returning home if they are infected with the new coronavirus.
The agencies will keep track of the excursions, including where they went and where they sat on public transit, in order to rapidly identify close connections who need to be quarantined if participants are proven to be sick.
Those who aren’t close friends will be able to continue on their journey.
Japan has undertaken test tours for inbound passengers from the United States, Australia, Singapore, and Thailand ahead of the return of tourist travel. The tour of the Thai group was halted when one of its members tested positive for the virus.
After coming under fire at home and internationally for its rigorous border controls, the country has been gradually reducing limits on foreign tourists’ entry, attempting to catch up with other Group of Seven countries.
However, it will take some time for the country to reopen its borders to individual travelers, since the administration is concerned about the possibility of virus reappearance.
Japan boosted its daily arrivals threshold to 20,000 on Wednesday, allowing most people to skip COVID-19 testing and quarantine periods. The 20,000-per-day arrival quota will be applied to the next guided tour participants.
What is Medical Insurance
Medical insurance is a type of insurance that covers the cost of medical treatment and hospitalization. The policy holder pays a fixed premium, either monthly or yearly, and the insurer pays for a percentage of the total covered expenses. Depending on the plan, the insured may have to pay a percentage of the cost of certain services.
Medical insurance can be divided into two basic categories: health benefits provided through employers and those purchased by individuals. Health benefits provided through an employer are paid for by both the employee and the employer.
Although there are several ways to divide up costs between these groups, in general, most employees pay a set amount as part of their paycheck while their employer pays another set amount; this arrangement is referred to as an “employer-sponsored plan.” Employer-sponsored plans include group health insurance plans (through unions) and employee benefit plans offered by larger companies. The insured person may also be required to pay an annual premium for health care coverage.
Individual policies may be purchased either directly from an insurance company or through an agent or broker