Japan intends to quarantine all visitors from coronavirus-hit China and South Korea at hospitals or other designated facilities before granting them entry permits, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Thursday.
Travelers from the two countries will be required to stay in quarantine for two weeks, effective next Monday.
“We are strengthening the quarantine of people coming from China and South Korea to stop the spread of the virus and ease people’s concerns,” Abe said.
“We are in a crucial period. It’s important not to hesitate to take decisive action on border controls,” he added. “We will take aggressive action.”
The Japanese government revealed the plan the same day Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to Japan was postponed.
The move would add to a spate of new travel restrictions around the world. It will also further squeeze business and the tourism sector, adding pressure onto the Japanese economy, which contracted in the final quarter of last year.
Japan will also ban travel from certain regions of Iran and South Korea — both countries that have suffered many deaths from the virus.
Also on Thursday, Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi announced that the country will ban foreign travelers who have been in certain parts of South Korea, Iran and Italy in the last 14 days, effective Sunday. The areas of concern, among others, are Tehran in Iran, the Lombardi region of Italy and the city of Daegu in South Korea.
For travelers who have been in the three countries but not the specified areas, a health certificate issued by relevant authorities will need to be presented at check-in.
Indonesian nationals returning from the three countries will be required to undergo additional health checks upon arrival. The foreign minister added that the measures are temporary, and “will be evaluated in accordance with developments.”
By HIROYUKI AKIYAMA