Amid the rising dread of coronavirus, US Department of State has raised its alert for Japan to level 2 on the four-level advisory scale, international media reported. The department on Saturday called for an increased caution by its citizens when travelling to Japan. Meanwhile, Meanwhile, COVID-19 has infected over 77,700 people and killed nearly 2,458 people globally with 17 deaths outside mainland China.
#Japan Travel Advisory Update: Level 2- Exercise increased caution due to outbreak of COVID-19, novel (new) #coronavirus disease. On January 30 the WHO determined the rapidly spreading outbreak constitutes Public Health Emergency of International Concern. https://t.co/840H5WbmUj pic.twitter.com/25cdcxLFLF— Travel - State Dept (@TravelGov) February 22, 2020
The previous advisory at level 1 called on citizens to exercise ‘normal precautions’ while in Japan. According to the US State Department, many infection cases of the pneumonia-causing virus have been associated with travel to or from mainland China or being in close contact with such travellers. But 'sustained community spread' has been reported in Japan, which means that people in the country have been infected with the virus, though 'how or where they became infected is not known, and the spread is ongoing.'
The department said that older adults and people with chronic medical may be at higher risk for severe disease, and advised such people to consult a healthcare provider before travelling to Japan. Japanese media reported that these steps came amid reports that the virus has travelled from China to Japan via unidentified routes.
Meanwhile, the Health Minister of Japan has apologised after a woman who was allowed to disembark coronavirus-stricken cruise ship tested positive for the virulent virus on February 23. The woman believed to be in her 60s was allowed to leave the Diamond Princess on Wednesday after a two week quarantine period was found to be positive after a test in Tochigi Prefecture, north of Tokyo, as per reports. Katsunobu Kato, the health minister told a news conference in Tokyo on Saturday evening that 23 people who had disembarked on Wednesday and Thursday had not carried any further since before Feb 5, and the ministry is trying to locate them for retests.