Japan on Friday raised its travel alert for 18 countries, including Algeria and Cuba, to Level 3, urging against any trips to these areas that have recently seen a rise in coronavirus infections.
The countries, mostly in Africa and Central America, are expected to be added to a list of over 100 countries subject to an entry ban for foreign travelers, Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi told a press conference.
The other countries are Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Costa Rica, Eswatini, Georgia, Grenada, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Iraq, Jamaica, Lebanon, Mauritania, Nicaragua, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, and Senegal.
Level 3 is the second-highest tier of the Foreign Ministry's travel alert system, with Level 4 being a call for immediate evacuation.
Travel in and out of Japan has virtually stopped due to restrictions meant to prevent the spread of COVID-19, with foreign visitors plunging 99.9 percent and that by outbound Japanese dropping 99.8 percent in April from a year earlier.
Japan currently denies entry to foreign travelers who have been to any of 111 countries and regions -- including the United States, China and South Korea, as well as most other parts of Asia -- within two weeks of their arrival.