Japan to bar entry to recent visitors to virus hit Hubei

TOKYO: Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Friday Japan will deny entry to foreigners who have been in China’s Hubei Province over the last 14 days or holders of Chinese passports issued in Hubei, starting Saturday.

“In light of the fact that some people tested positive for the virus without showing any symptoms, the government will further enhance the effectiveness of border control checks and make every possible effort to prevent the spread of infection,” Abe told a government task force meeting discussing response to the new coronavirus.

“The government will implement necessary measures without hesitation, as we put the highest priority on protecting Japanese citizens’ lives and health,” the premier said.

The decision to ban visitors from Hubei, where the virus’s epicenter of Wuhan is located, was made based on Japan’s immigration control law.

As of Friday, 17 people infected with the deadly virus in Japan, including foreigners, according to the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare.

Abe also said the government will start on Saturday enforcing ordinances that allow it to forcibly hospitalize infected patients and bar them from working.

The government initially planned to put into effect the ordinances on February 7, but decided to bring it forward as the World Health Organization (WHO) declared a global emergency over the outbreak of the new coronavirus on Thursday.

Chinese authorities said earlier in the day that 9,692 confirmed cases of pneumonia caused by the virus, with 213 people dying from the illness. Outside China, there are confirmed patients in Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Macao, Thailand, Singapore, Vietnam, Nepal, Malaysia, Cambodia, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, the United Arab Emirates, India, Australia, France, Germany, Finland, Canada and the US.

Source: Kuwait News Agency