A 53-year-old former Japanese minister has died of Covid-19, his party said on Monday. Yuichiro Hata becomes the first incumbent lawmaker to succumb to the disease in a nation scrambling to shut its doors to foreign travellers. Yuichiro Hata, who was transport minister in 2012 and is the son of former Prime Minister Tsutomu Hatawho, died on Sunday, the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan said. Japan on Monday started banning non-resident foreign nationals from entering following the detection of a new, highly infectious coronavirus variant linked to a rapid rise in infections in Britain. Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga urged calm ahead of the New Year holidays, when hospitals tend to become understaffed.