Japan on Friday raised its travel alert for Russia and 13 other nations to its second-highest level, the foreign minister said, warning against any trips to these areas as the new coronavirus continues to spread globally.
Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi told a press conference that foreign travelers who have been in the 14 countries, also including several Middle Eastern countries such as the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, within two weeks of arriving in Japan will be denied entry following the upgraded advisory.
The number of countries and regions on which Japan has imposed an entry ban will increase to 87, Motegi said, adding that the measure will be finalized after discussion at the National Security Council, headed by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, and other meetings.
The Level 3 advisory is one step below the Foreign Ministry's highest level of travel alert, which urges Japanese nationals to "evacuate immediately" from a country or area and "avoid all travel regardless of purpose."
"Going forward, based on the situation of the spread of the novel coronavirus, we'll constantly review the warnings," Motegi said. "We'll do all we can to provide support and ensure the safety of our citizens."
Among the countries that were additionally raised to Level 3 are six in the Middle East and Africa, five in South and Central America and three in Europe. All European nations are now under the Level 3 advisory, according to Motegi.
The coronavirus pandemic has led to travel bans and restrictions globally. Japan had already banned entry of foreign travelers from 73 countries and regions, including China, South Korea, the United States and most of Europe, and suspended visas issued to people from the rest of the world.
Motegi also said there are still about 1,050 Japanese nationals in about 50 countries around the world who wish to return home. About 470 of them are planning to come back by the end of April.