Japan logged more than 44,000 new cases on Monday, a tally by public broadcaster NHK showed.
Yanita Antoko has been waiting for over a year in Indonesia to join her husband in Japan. She has her papers and has closed her business selling homemade spice mixes, but remains shut out.
The 30-year-old is one of more than 370,000 people left in limbo by Japan's coronavirus border rules, which bar almost all new arrivals and are the strictest in the G7.
Japan is set to more than double the number of regions under enhanced coronavirus curbs on Tuesday, even as it sought to modify strategies to contend with the infectious Omicron variant that has fueled record numbers of cases.
A government health panel signed off on an expansion of tougher counter-measures in 18 additional regions, among them the western prefectures of Osaka and Kyoto.
Even as other countries with tough virus restrictions like Australia reopen, Japan still bans tourists and business visitors as well as new foreign workers, students and their dependents.
The curbs will run from Thursday until Feb. 20.
"It's really, really upsetting me," said Antoko, whose Indonesian husband works as an engineer in central Japan.
"When you get married, of course you want to have children. That's the main reason we want to live together."
The measures came in response to an increase of infections and hospital admissions driven by Omicron. Japan logged more than 44,000 new cases on Monday, a tally by public broadcaster NHK showed.
The curbs will run from Thursday until Feb. 20, empowering regional governors to ask restaurants and bars to shorten business hours and stop serving alcohol.
But there is no clarity on when that might be possible.
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has extended the current measures, which polls show are popular with the public, until at least late February.
That leaves people like 28-year-old Santosh from Nepal in an agonising position.
The curbs are empowering regional governors to ask restaurants and bars to shorten business hours.
He holds a business degree from Japan, speaks Japanese, and has been offered a job in the international marketing division of a Japanese company. But he has been stuck in Nepal since 2020, waiting for permission to move.
"If I cancel my plans to work in Japan, then my six years of studies there will have been for nothing," Santosh, who asked to be identified without his surname, told AFP.
"So I'm waiting and waiting."
Others like French student Leeloo Bos are facing similar difficulties in keeping their dreams alive.
The 21-year-old, whose fiance is in Japan, is attending her Japanese classes at night due to the time difference.
"It's a nightmare," she told AFP, describing language lessons that end at 4am.
And while she still hopes to build a career promoting Japanese bands, she said being apart from her Japanese fiance left her "feeling empty, as though half my soul had been removed."
Already declared in 16 prefectures, the expansion means the measures will soon cover more than 70% of Japan's regions until the middle of next month.
The advisory panel also approved an extension until Feb. 20 of so-called quasi-emergency measures in three regions.
A government taskforce led by Prime Minister Fumio Kishida is set to formally approve the decisions later on Tuesday.
The health ministry announced late on Monday it will allow doctors to diagnose those who have had a close contact with a COVID patient and who show COVID symptoms as being infected without testing if deemed necessary by local governments.
New Zealand has been unable to beat an outbreak of the highly infectious Delta variant of COVID-19 centred in Auckland, forcing Ardern to abandon her acclaimed elimination strategy and switch to a system of treating the virus as endemic.
Two years after Covid-19 sparked the worst health crisis in generations, Johnson will address parliament to outline his plan, pressing ahead despite news on Sunday that Queen Elizabeth II had tested positive for the first time.
Some activities will remain banned, including weddings and corporate meetings. Social gatherings will continue to be limited to a maximum of 20 people, SPA said, citing an interior ministry source.
Japan placed 11 of its 47 prefectures under a state of emergency in January as a third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic swept the nation. One of those prefectures, Tochigi, has already emerged early from the emergency restrictions.
In a ghastly incident in Pakistan's Faisalabad city, a medical student was tortured, humiliated and sexually harassed for refusing to marry an older man (influential businessman), who is also the father of her friend, media reports said on Wednesday.
The airlines’ crews will distribute the customs’ declaration forms during the flights among all passengers, irrespective of their nationality. The declaration forms will be deposited at the customs` counters before the immigration desks at all airports.
With the theme “Recover Faster, Rise Stronger”, Indonesians across the globe at approximately 288 million, commemorated on Wednesday, August 17, their 77th Freedom Day from The Netherlands.
An Arab child drowned in a bathtub in his family’s house, after being left unattended. This was reported last Tuesday, when the Operations Room of the Sharjah Police received a report stating that a two-and-a-half-year-old Arab child drowned in a bathtub in his family’s house.