Quarantine Train Carriages Launched For Travelers Arriving In Tokyo

If you’re one of the few travelers able to enter Japan right now, getting from Narita International Airport to downtown Tokyo is getting a little easier. That’s because the Keisei Electric Railway company is now offering train cars reserved specifically for overseas arrivals. Prior to this offering, the Japanese government required all overseas arrivals to avoid public transportation when leaving the airport for the city.

Skyliner
The special cars will be part of the Keisei Skyliner. Photo: Wei-Te Wong via Wikimedia Commons

Prior to this new service

Indeed, to reduce the spread of the novel coronavirus, some jurisdictions highly discouraged international arrivals from taking public transport. Japan’s government implemented this policy as well, requesting that those coming from abroad take a taxi or private car to their destination.

For Tokyo residents without friends or family to call upon, having to use a taxi to get from Narita Airport was an expensive requirement. That’s because, at nearly 70km or 40 miles, Narita is incredibly far from the actual city, resulting in taxi fares of around $200.

japan rail tokyo
A look at airport distance from the city. Notice how much closer Haneda airport is. Photo: Brionies via Wikimedia Commons

Keisei Skyliner’s reserved cars

Things have changed according to The Mainichi, which reports that the Keisei Skyliner has started a service Monday to accommodate overseas arrivals. This will run 15 times a day from the Narita airport in Chiba Prefecture to Tokyo’s Ueno station and will have the front cars of each train reserved for such travelers. Additionally, these cars are disinfected after each run, with adjacent cars kept empty.

This service takes passengers from Narita airport to downtown Tokyo in just 41 minutes at a cost of 2,520 yen (approximately $25) for a one-way ticket.

japan border customs officer
Japan has implemented strict new measures for overseas arrivals – banning most foreigners and non-residents. Photo: Getty Images

Further entry restrictions for Japan

The new rail cars may not see too many passengers as Japan recently imposed a tougher entry policy in an effort to control the spread of the coronavirus. In fact, the government is banning foreign nationals who have stayed in any one of 152 designated countries/regions within 14 days prior. The list of 152 countries can be found on the Ministry’s webpage.

getty-400km-busiest-domestic-route
Japan is currently experiencing a third wave of the coronavirus – one that is much larger than the first two. Photo: Getty Images

For those who can enter the country, there will be new quarantine measures in place, effective today. Here are some of the key points:

  • Japanese nationals arriving from the UK and South Africa must self-quarantine for three days at a designated location. A COVID-19 test is required on the third day.
  • Permitted arrivals from the UK and South Africa (such as Japanese nationals and residents) are required to submit location information and install a COVID-19 contact tracing app.
  • From December 30th, 2020, until the end of January 2021, all foreign nationals and Japanese citizens, who enter or return to Japan from countries where the new variant of Coronavirus has been detected, will be asked to submit a negative COVID-19 testing result conducted within 72 hours to an immigration officer.

What do you think of a no-public transportation policy for international arrivals? Is it a good way to limit the spread of COVID-19? Let us know in the comments.

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