National / Science & Health

Japan weighs ban on arrivals from virus-hit areas of Italy and Spain


The government is considering imposing a travel ban on people arriving from Iceland and some parts of Italy, Spain and Switzerland to combat the coronavirus pandemic, sources said Tuesday.

Officials may also start asking travelers from other European countries that comprise the Schengen Area, including Japanese nationals, to self-quarantine for 14 days, the government sources said.

The measures could be finalized at an upcoming meeting chaired by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, they said.

The 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 northern Italy, 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 travel ban, as will the Spanish provinces of Madrid and La Rioja and the Basque region, the sources said.

Foreign nationals who have been in any of these places within 14 days of arriving in Japan will be turned away if the travel ban is imposed, they said.

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 people 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.

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