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Coronavirus

Japan refuses entry of eight foreigners over coronavirus concern

People recently in Hubei province and who have passports issued there are barred

Airline staff wear face masks at Haneda airport in Tokyo. (Photo by Yuki Nakao)

TOKYO -- Japan refused entry over the weekend to eight foreigners who had recently been in China's Hubei province, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told reporters on Monday.

The move followed Japan's announcement on Friday that foreigners who have been in Hubei province, where the novel coronavirus epicenter of Wuhan is located, in the past 14 days will be denied entry. People with passports issued in Hubei province are also barred. The ban took effect on Saturday at 12:01 a.m.

Five people were denied entry on Saturday, and three more were refused on Sunday. Suga did not mention their specific situations or nationalities.

The Japanese government has been sending charter flights to Wuhan to help Japanese nationals return home. Asked if Tokyo would provide more charter flights to other cities, Suga said the government would like to monitor developments and local circumstances.

Recent reports suggest that the new coronavirus can be spread by asymptomatic carriers, who cannot be detected through normal screening processes. The U.S. and Singapore have also announced restrictions on the entry of some foreigners to prevent the spread of the virus.

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