Japan has decided to ask all travelers from about 30 European countries, including Britain, France and Germany, to self-quarantine for 14 days in response to a surge in coronavirus cases there, a source with knowledge of the matter said Tuesday.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is expected to announce the measure on Wednesday during a meeting of a government task force on the virus, the source said.
The self-quarantine is expected to cover visitors from 26 European countries that comprise the Schengen Area and several others including Britain and Romania, according to the source. Japanese nationals will also be subject to the request.
In addition, the Japanese government is considering an entry ban on foreign travelers from Iceland and some parts of Italy, Spain and Switzerland, government sources said earlier in the day.
The decision was made after a panel advising the government on Tuesday recommended asking travelers from Europe and Southeast Asia to self-quarantine for 14 days regardless of whether they have symptoms such as high fever or coughing.
The entry ban is expected to cover the northern Italian regions of Valle d'Aosta, Trentino-Alto Adige, Fruili-Venezia Giulia and Liguria. Japan has already closed its doors to five other regions in the country's north, which has seen a sharp rise in coronavirus cases, as well as parts of China, South Korea and Iran.
The Swiss canton of Ticino, which borders Italy, may also become subject to the entry ban, along with the Spanish provinces of Madrid and La Rioja as well as the Basque Country, the sources said.
Foreign nationals who have been to any of the places within 14 days of arriving in Japan would be turned away, the sources said.
In policy recommendations submitted to the health ministry on Tuesday, the panel warned that Japan is seeing a growing number of "imported" cases of the COVID-19 disease.
All travelers from Europe and Southeast Asia, including Japanese nationals, should be asked to stay at home or their lodgings, refrain from using public transport, and to be on the lookout for the onset of symptoms, the panel said.
"Border measures need to be further enhanced," Takaji Wakita, the panel's chair and head of the National Institute of Infectious Diseases, said at a press conference.
The measures come as the international community steps up efforts to contain the outbreak that has spread from China to infect more than 170,000 worldwide.
The United States has announced similar travel restrictions on other countries, while the European Union is mulling a 30-day ban on nonessential entry into the bloc.