Japan to ban travelers from 18 European countries, Iran


Japan is set to ban entry of foreign nationals coming from 18 European countries and Iran to curb the spread of the coronavirus, local media reported on Tuesday.

Kyodo News Agency said foreign travelers who have been to any of the 19 countries in the two weeks before arriving in Japan will be turned away.

The European countries are Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Italy, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, the Netherlands, Norway, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland, and the Vatican.

“Barring special circumstances, there will not be any exceptions,” Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi said at a news conference on Tuesday.

The report cited a government source as saying that a task force chaired by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will take a decision soon on when the ban will come into force.

The move, which would be the broadest set of border controls imposed by Japan, comes as the number of COVID-19 cases in the country has risen over 1,120, with 42 deaths.

The pandemic has also cast doubt over the future of this year’s Olympics in Tokyo.

Japan had already closed its doors to people from some regions of Italy, Spain, Switzerland and Iran, in addition to the whole of Iceland and San Marino, as well as parts of China and South Korea.

The virus first emerged in Wuhan, China, last December and has spread to at least 168 countries and territories. The World Health Organization has declared the outbreak a pandemic.

There are over 381,600 confirmed COVID-19 cases worldwide and the death toll now tops 16,500, while over 101,800 people have recovered, according to data compiled by the U.S.-based Johns Hopkins University.

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