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Japan Orders Two-Week Quarantine Of Chinese, South Korean Travelers

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is mandating that visitors from China and South Korea be quarantined for two weeks due to the expanding Coronavirus outbreak, reports indicated on Thursday (March 5).

Most new measures will take effect on March 9 and will continue through the end of the month. The quarantine will take place at designated sites. Starting on March 7, the government will deny entry to anyone who was exposed to the high infection rates in South Korea or Iran. Arrivals from those countries will be limited and existing visas will be suspended. Visitors affected by the travel restrictions will also be asked to avoid public transportation.

Olympics Minister Seiko Hashimoto said the 2020 Tokyo Games would go ahead as planned in July. “Cancellation or delay of the Games would be unacceptable for the athletes,” she said.

She did say on Tuesday (March 3) that Tokyo’s contract with the International Olympic Committee “could allow a postponement.” The final decision on holding the Games is up to the IOC, she said.

The Japanese Rugby Football Union is planning to suspend April’s Asia Sevens Invitational, which serves as a test event for rugby sevens at the Tokyo Olympics.

Abe’s new mandates follow criticism that he neglected to directly confront the outbreak as the country reported its biggest one-day increase in new cases.

The number of new infections had reached at least 1,056 nationwide as of Feb. 28, up 20 cases from a day earlier. Seven new cases were reported in Nagoya in central Japan and the first in the western prefecture of Shiga. Twelve people have died in the country, the health ministry said.

It is “essential” to take “flexible protection measures” at ports and airports, Abe said.

Chinese President Xi Jinping is also delaying his April visit to Japan. Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said a better time for Xi to visit will be arranged. Both countries had agreed to “prioritize the fight against [the] Coronavirus.”

Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea closed on Feb. 29 due to concerns over containing the spread of the virus. “We plan to reopen on March 16, but we will make an announcement after keeping close contact with relevant institutions,” Oriental Land said on its website.

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