Japan is enacting its toughest travel restrictions since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.
In March, Japan announced that it would deny entry to any foreigner who has been to Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Italy, Iran, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, the Netherlands, Norway, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland, and the Vatican 14 days prior to their arrival in Japan.
However, that list has extended to 73 countries, including Britain, the United States, and Canada.
Now that Japan has extended its ban to 73 countries, those affected are:
In Asia and Oceania: Australia, Brunei, China, Indonesia, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam.
In Europe: Albania, Andorra, Armenia, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Britain, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Kosovo, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, the Netherlands, North Macedonia, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, San Merino, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and Vatican.
In North America: Canada, and the United States of America.
In Central and South America: Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Dominica, Ecuador, and Panama.
In the Middle East and Africa: Bahrain, Cote d’Ivorie, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Egypt, Iran, Israel, Mauritius, Morocco, and Turkey.
Prior to this decision, Japan had already suspended issuing visas to Chinese and South Korean Nationals, and had implemented travel bans to foreigners coming from certain areas in China, South Korea, Iran, Spain, Switzerland, and Italy, as well as those coming from Iceland and San Marino.
Japan is also expected to extend the suspension of visas issued to South Korean and Chinese nationals.
These moves come as the COVID-19 global pandemic continues to spread, and nations’ health care systems start to crumble.
As of April 02, 2020, the National Public Radio (NPR) lists 1,012,481 confirmed cases around the world and 52,812 deaths. Japan has also seen a surge in cases, particularly in Tokyo.
The United States has become an epicenter of the virus with 244,520 confirmed cases as of April 3, 2020, with New York being particularly affected. Italy, Spain, France are also one of the most affected countries, its death toll now surpassing China’s. Spain’s numbers have also surpassed 20,000, while Germany and France’s have surpassed 10,000.
The United States has seen its number of confirmed cases skyrocket, reaching over 40,000 as of March 23. The most affected region in the U.S. is the state of New York with over 20,000 cases.
The astronomical number of cases has brought chaos to hospitals. In Italy, doctors and nurses have had to select which patients receive treatment since there are not enough hospital beds and human resources to treat the sheer number of patients.
As a result of the pandemic, several cities and countries have announced lockdowns and quarantines echoing the one’s China implemented during the start of the pandemic; the purpose remains to flatten the curve. There are currently rumors in Japan as people expect lockdowns to happen, but Prime Minister Abe Shinzo has brushed off the rumors as “fake news.”
Japan has come under fire for its handling of the pandemic since the country has not been conducting many tests and thus the actual numbers of confirmed cases could remain a mystery, with many critics believing that Japan’s slow response is linked to the country’s fear of crippling its economy. However, Japan’s death toll remains considerably low when compared to those of other countries.