Severity: Critical Alert

Entry/Exit: Japan to require 14-day quarantines upon arrival; impose travel bans on US, Brazil, Australia, and other countries from April 3.

This alert affects Japan

This alert began 02 Apr 2020 00:29 GMT and is scheduled to expire 02 May 2020 07:59 GMT.

  • Incident: COVID-related restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Indefinite
  • Impact: Transport disruptions; likely business disruptions

Summary
Authorities in Japan will implement new quarantine requirements on arriving travelers beginning at 0001 April 3 as part of the nation's efforts to stem the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). The new measure mandates that all travelers entering the country, including Japanese nationals, undergo a 14-day quarantine upon arrival; the isolation period may take place either at a designated facility or the individual's home. Individuals under quarantine orders are also to refrain from using public transportation.

Simultaneously with the new quarantine requirements, Tokyo will also expand an existing ban on foreign nationals who have visited certain countries within the past 14 days from entering Japan. Countries and territories added to the ban list are: the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, all of mainland China and South Korea, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Dominica, Ecuador, Panama, Albania, Armenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Kosovo, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, the UK, Bahrain, Israel, Turkey, Cote d'Ivoire, the DRC, Egypt, Mauritius, and Morocco.

Entry bans which had previously been imposed on foreign nationals with recent travel history in the following locations are continuing as of April 2: Iran, Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Lichtenstein, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Slovenia, Sweden, Italy, San Marino, Spain, Switzerland, Vatican City, Zhejiang and Hubei provinces in China, Daegu; Cheongdo, Chilgok, Gunwei, Seongju, Uiseong counties and Gyeongsan, Andong, Yeongcheon cities in North Gyeongsang Province in South Korea.

Officials also require all passengers arriving from certain countries, including Japanese nationals, to undergo polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing, which involves medical personnel taking a nasopharyngeal swab, upon arrival. Effective 0001 April 3, the following countries will be added to the mandatory PCR testing protocols: Australia, New Zealand, Taiwan, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Dominica, Ecuador, Panama, Albania, Armenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Moldova, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia, Turkey, Cote d'Ivoire, Mauritius, and Morocco.

As of April 2, such PCR testing procedures have already been applied to the following countries and territories: the US, mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, Brunei, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, South Korea, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, all Schengen Area member countries in Europe, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Andorra, Ireland, Monaco, Romania, San Marino, the UK, Vatican City, Bahrain, Iran, Israel, Qatar, Egypt, and the DRC.

International travel bans and mandatory medical testing upon arrival are set to continue until further notice. Quarantine measures upon arrival will remain in place through at least the end of April, but will likely be extended. Authorities could expand such policies to cover additional areas at short notice depending on COVID-19 activity.

Flights from South Korea and China are only authorized to land at Narita International Airport (NRT) and Kansai International Airport (KIX). Additional restrictions on international flights could be announced in the coming days. Even in the absence of further official control measures, international flight disruptions will probably continue in the coming weeks, and possibly months, due to severely decreased demand. Authorities have suspended international passenger ferry services. Domestic travel may face service disruptions from decreased demand.

Numerous national governments have raised their alert levels for Japan and are advising their citizens against nonessential travel to the country due to COVID-19 activity. Some governments have banned foreign nationals with recent travel history in Japan from entering their countries. Additional travel restrictions to and from Japan are possible in the coming days and weeks.

Advice
Follow all official instructions. Postpone travel if affected by an entry ban. Allow additional time for immigration and health screenings. Consider delaying travel if experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19, as they may prompt increased scrutiny and delays. Confirm international flight reservations. Closely monitor national travel advisories, as additional restrictions to and from Japan are likely. Consider telecommuting options for staff. Make allowances for likely increased employee absenteeism and related business disruptions.

Exercise basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.

Resources
World Health Organisation (WHO): www.who.int

Travel Japan: www.japan.travel/en/coronavirus