TOKYO: Japan plans to quarantine people coming from China and South Korea for two weeks to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus, the Yomiuri daily reported on Thursday (Mar 5).
The newspaper said that everyone coming from the two countries will be quarantined at medical or other facilities and the government will ask Chinese and Korean tourists to refrain from visiting Japan and will suspend their visas.
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The daily gave no details on its source for the report, but said Prime Minister Shinzo Abe would announce the measures at a meeting later today of a cabinet-level task force on the outbreak.
More than 95,000 people have been infected and over 3,200 have died worldwide from COVID-19, which has now reached some 80 countries and territories.
The Yomiuri said the government will limit the landing of flights from China and South Korea to two airports, Narita and Kansai International.
The arrival of passengers on ships will be suspended, the daily said.
The reported decision comes as Japan steps up its response to the outbreak, which has infected over 1,000 people in Japan, including more than 700 on a cruise ship put in quarantine offshore.
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Six domestic deaths have been linked to the virus, along with six from the cruise ship.
Abe’s government has come in for criticism of its response to the outbreak, particularly on the cruise ship, and in recent days has stepped up measures.
Schools across the country have been closed and events cancelled after the government warned that the coming two weeks will be crucial to prevent a sustained, large-scale outbreak of the virus.
The measures have impacted all types of events, including football matches, sumo bouts and music concerts.
Other countries have also taken measures to block or limit arrivals from China, where the outbreak emerged, and nations suffering a large number of cases including South Korea, Iran and Italy.
Japan had already banned the entry of people with recent travel to several centres of the outbreak, including two provinces in China and two parts of South Korea.