The Japanese Government has asked its citizens to avoid all non-essential travel abroad, as they fight to stop the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Japan’s Foreign Ministry has raised its travel advisory alert for the whole world to Level 2 (out of a four-level scale), marking the first time Japan has raised the travel alert so high.

The aim is to inform people who are planning to travel of the risks and prevent any trouble,” a ministry official told local reporters.

Japan has considerably fewer reported infections of COVID-19 compared to certain European countries or the US. But on March 26, the country saw the highest surge in new cases so far, wherein 45 people tested positive on the same day, taking the total to 1,387. The Government is preparing for a sudden “explosive” increase in cases by setting up a special task force to combat the spread of the disease.

Raring the alert was the latest in a series of measures that the Japanese Government has taken as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Last week, the Japanese Foreign Ministry announced that they will invalidate visas that have been issued to people from certain countries affected by COVID-19. The decision was effective starting from March 21, 2020, and will continue at least until the end of April

The entry ban affects people coming from one of the Schengen Zone countries, the United Kingdom, Andorra, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Egypt, Iran, Ireland, Monaco, Romania, San Marino, and Vatican City.

Additionally, anyone who has been in certain regions of Italy, Spain, or Switzerland or in any part of Iceland within 14 days of arriving in Japan will be denied entry.

However, although the measures were enforced partly because the Japanese Government was trying to avoid cancelling the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, the event was nevertheless postponed to next year. The Summer Olympics and Paralympic Games this year were set to be held in Tokyo from June to September.

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