Seven countries impose entry restrictions from hard-hit Japan in bid to curb COVID-19

  • Japan
  • Tuesday, 25 Feb 2020

Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe speaking during a meeting at the new Covid-19 (coronavirus) infectious disease control headquarters at the prime minister's office in Tokyo on Tuesday (Feb 25). A fourth person died on Tuesday in Japan after becoming ill aboard a coronavirus-stricken cruise ship, a government official said. - AFP

TOKYO: Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi said Tuesday (Feb 25) that seven countries have imposed entry restrictions on Japanese nationals and people traveling from Japan in a bid to curb the spread of Covid-19 (coronavirus) outbreak.

The countries imposing travel restrictions include Israel, Samoa, Micronesia, Kiribati, Comoros, Tuvalu, and the Solomon Islands, Motegi told a press briefing on the matter.

Japan, however, has asked Israel to lift the restrictions and has informed each country imposing travel restrictions about the efforts Japan is making to combat the spread of the epidemic.

On Tuesday, the Japanese government decided to adopt a basic policy to help curb the spread of the disease.

"It is extremely important to slow down the pace of increase in the number of infected people if we are to contain an epidemic in the country," the basic policy stated.

Japan's Health Minister Katsunobu Kato said that the government is concerned that the clusters of infections, as they stand at the moment, will form into bigger clusters and lead to an expansion of COVID-19.

As such, Kato said the link must be blocked.

"We and experts are deeply concerned about the possibility that one cluster will lead to the formation of another cluster and infections will expand," Kato told a press briefing on the matter.

"What we need to do is to block the link," said Kato, calling on Japanese citizens to cooperate in the effort to curb the spread of the disease.

A government panel comprising medical experts said that the coming few weeks would be "critical" in assessing the extent the epidemic has and could spread in Japan. They added that if a further spread of infections could be curbed or slowed down, then medical experts would have more time to better prepare to treat infected patients.

Medical institutions not specializing in treating infectious diseases will be asked to treat patients of the pneumonia-carrying virus, after instituting new protocols including strict examination hours and the control of patients' movements.

In addition, under the new measures, resources used to monitor those known to have come into contact with infected patients, will be rolled back, with at-risk patients being asked to self-quarantine and stay at home as much as possible.

They will be asked to first recuperate at home, rather than flooding emergency health facilities in the event their symptoms are mild.

Japan has confirmed more than 850 infections, with most of them stemming from the virus-hit Diamond Princess cruise ship docked in Yokohama Port near Tokyo.

The Diamond Princess cruise ship was initially carrying around 3,700 passengers and crew from more than 50 countries and regions.

The vessel was put under quarantine at Yokohama Port on Feb 5 after a passenger who had disembarked in Hong Kong was found to be infected with the virus.

In light of the travel restrictions being imposed by the seven countries on those traveling from Japan, Motegi has asked people intending to travel overseas from Japan to check the Foreign Ministry's website before confirming their travel plans. - Xinhua/Asian News Network
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