Seoul issues Japan travel warning over coronavirus fears

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This graphic image, provided by the Seoul Foreign Ministry on Saturday, shows a map of Japan marked in yellow to indicate new travel warnings. (Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

South Korea’s foreign ministry on Saturday raised the travel alert for all parts of Japan, amid growing concerns about the number of COVID-19 cases there.

As of Monday, Seoul advised “restraint,” representing the third level of the country’s four-tier warning system. A week ago, he recommended “caution”, a warning one notch lower.

The ministry referred to growing concerns over the continued spread of the coronavirus in Japan and how it could affect Koreans, saying the international community has expressed doubts about what it calls Japan’s “opaque” reports and its response. “weak” to the virus.

“We advise Koreans residing in Japan to take extra precautions and citizens who plan to travel to the region to think carefully,” he said.
The ministry said it would continue to monitor the situation closely and revise its alert levels accordingly.

The highest alert level, “recommend withdrawal”, remains in place for the Fukushima region due to the 2011 nuclear disaster.

The latest travel warning has been interpreted as a “tit-for-tat” response to Tokyo’s latest travel restrictions against people entering the country from Korea.

Korea announced on Friday that it was suspending its visa waiver program and invalidating all travel permits already issued to Japanese people, starting Monday, in response to Japan’s decision to impose a two-week quarantine on all visitors from Korea and to suspend visa-free entry for Koreans.

Korea and Japan have been hit hard by the coronavirus, which originated in China late last year. Korea had reported 6,767 confirmed cases and 45 deaths as of Saturday. Japan has seen more than 1,100 cases, including 706 people who were on board the Diamond Princess cruise ship, which was quarantined near the capital.

By Ahn Sung-mi ([email protected])

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