Japan bans entry by foreign nationals with recent travel history in parts of Europe and Iran from March 11. Further restrictions in place.

Severity: Warning Alert

This alert began 10 Mar 2020 16:30 GMT and is scheduled to expire 02 Apr 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: Preventative restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Indefinite
  • Impact: Mandatory quarantines, travel restrictions, enhanced health screenings, transport disruptions; likely business disruptions

Summary
Japanese officials have announced that, from March 11, foreign nationals with recent travel history in specified locations with high numbers of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) will be barred from entering Japan. The measures apply to travelers who have been in specified areas within 14 days before their arrival in Japan. As of March 10, such restrictions apply to the Italian regions of Veneto, Emilia-Romagna, Piedmont, Lombardy, and Marche, the Iranian provinces of Tehran, Qom, Gilan, Alborz, Qazvin, Golestan, Esfahan, Lorestan, Markazi, Mazandaran, and Semnan, along with San Marino. Japan also continues to ban entry by foreign nationals who have recently traveled to North Gyeongsang Province, South Korea, and China's Zhejiang and Hubei provinces. Authorities could expand travel bans and quarantine measures to cover additional areas, including entire countries, at short notice in the coming days and weeks due to COVID-19 activity.

Officials have also invalidated visas for travelers from China - including Hong Kong and Macau - and South Korea as part of the country's effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The Japanese government has suspended visa-free travel for South Korea, Hong Kong, and Macau. The measure will not impact Chinese and South Korean visitors already in Japan, but those people cannot reenter Japan on the same visa if they depart the country, until the restrictions end.

Authorities are also enforcing mandatory 14-day quarantines for passengers arriving from mainland China and South Korea at designated government sites. Officials will require passengers to pay for the quarantine accommodation. The measures, which are slated to remain in place through at least March 31, apply to both Japanese and foreign nationals.

Flights from South Korea and China are only authorized to land at Narita International Airport (NRT) and Kansai International Airport (KIX). International passenger ferry services are also suspended. International flight disruptions will probably continue in the coming weeks, and possibly months, due to decreased demand. Additional service cancellations are likely.

Officials continue to carry out enhanced health screenings at points of entry across the country. Travelers will still need to complete a health declaration and report any symptoms or potential exposure upon arrival. Immigration authorities may implement more restrictions, such as enforced hospitalization or banning infected passengers.

Several countries are advising their citizens against nonessential travel to Japan. Numerous national governments have raised their alert levels for Japan due to sustained community spread of COVID-19 in the country. As of March 10, officials in Israel, Iraq, Micronesia, and Mongolia have banned foreign nationals with recent travel history in Japan from entering their countries; additional travel restrictions to and from Japan are likely in the coming days and weeks.

Advice
Follow all official instructions. Consider telecommuting options for staff. Make allowances for likely increased employee absenteeism and related business disruptions. 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 reservations for flights between Japan and destinations abroad. Closely monitor national travel advisories, as additional travel restrictions to and from Japan are likely.

Exercise basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.

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