Japan will add another 18 countries including Algeria, Cuba and Iraq to its entry ban list as part of its border control measures to contain the spread of COVID-19, the government said Monday.
Foreign nationals who have been to the countries within 14 days of their arrival in Japan will be denied entry in principle, starting Wednesday, the government said.
The newly added countries are mainly in Latin America, the Middle East and Africa, which have all seen a rise in COVID-19 cases.
The other 15 countries are Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Costa Rica, Eswatini, Georgia, Grenada, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Lebanon, Mauritania, Nicaragua, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, and Senegal.
The decision made Monday by the National Security Council brings the total number of countries and regions on the list to 129.
Japan will also maintain other border control measures such as suspension of visa issuance by its embassies in the listed countries and regions until the end of July.
With the travel restrictions in place, Japan is estimated to have received only 1,700 foreign travelers in May, an all-time low and a 99.9 percent drop from a year earlier, according to the latest government data.
Japan has emerged from a state of emergency declared over the novel coronavirus but remains on alert against a spike in new infections.
In the meantime, the government is considering relaxing travel restrictions on countries that have seen the infection situation stabilize. Last week, a chartered flight carrying mainly business people marked the resumption of travel between Japan and Vietnam that had been halted by the pandemic.
More than 18,500 infections have been reported in Japan as of Monday, with 985 deaths related to the virus.
Globally, the total number of cases has topped 10 million with over 500,000 deaths, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.