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Japan to extend visa suspensions until end of May as virus spreads

KYODO

Japan will extend its suspension of visas held by foreign nationals to the end of May, a government source said Tuesday, having deemed it too early to lift travel restrictions meant to prevent the coronavirus from spreading.

The Foreign Ministry announced April 1 that it was suspending visas and short-stay visa waivers for people from more than 100 countries through at least the end of April.

Foreign travelers have almost completely stopped coming to Japan amid the travel restrictions, with government data for March showing a 93 percent drop from a year earlier.

Meanwhile, the coronavirus has continued to spread in Japan, with more than 11,000 infections and at least 288 deaths as of Tuesday evening. The increase in cases prompted Prime Minister Shinzo Abe last week to declare a nationwide state of emergency.

Japan has also banned the entry of foreign travelers who have been to any of 73 countries, including China, South Korea and the United States as well as most of Europe, within two weeks of their arrival.

Japanese returning from abroad are required to be tested for the coronavirus and self-isolate for two weeks to watch for symptoms such as high fever and coughing.

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