US State Department raises advisory to Level 2 for Japan and South Korea, Feb. 22

NHK World-Japan
US raises advisory for travel to Japan, S. Korea

Posted Saturday, Feb. 22, 2020, 15:00 US Pacific Time

The US Department of State has raised its travel advisory for Japan and South Korea to Level 2 in connection with the outbreak of the new coronavirus.

It is now calling on the elderly and people with underlying health issues to consider delaying unnecessary travel.

The State Department increased the advisory from the lowest to the second lowest level on its four-notch scale on Saturday (Feb. 22).

The department says on its website that how or where people in Japan and South Korea became infected with the virus is not known and the spread is “ongoing.”

The department says “older adults and those with chronic medical conditions” should talk to a healthcare provider about travel to the two countries and consider postponing nonessential travel.

It says this is because they “may be at higher risk for severe disease.”

Level 2 is not meant to urge people to cancel travel or leave countries covered by the advisory.

The department tweeted on Thursday (Feb. 20)  that US citizens should “reconsider travel by cruise ship” to or in East Asia and the Asia-Pacific region.


US Department of State / Japan Travel Advisory

February 22, 2020
Japan – Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution

Exercise Increased Caution due to an outbreak of COVID-19 (also known as the disease caused by SARS-CoV-2).

A novel (new) coronavirus disease, recently designated as COVID-19, is causing an outbreak of respiratory illness.   The first cases of COVID-19 were reported in China in December 2019.  On January 30, 2020, the World Health Organization determined the rapidly spreading outbreak constitutes a Public Health Emergency of International Concern.

Many cases of COVID-19 have been associated with travel to or from mainland China or close contact with a travel-related case, but sustained community spread has been reported in Japan.  Sustained community spread means that people in Japan have been infected with the virus, but how or where they became infected is not known, and the spread is ongoing. The CDC has issued a Level 2 Travel Health Notice.

Because older adults and those with chronic medical conditions may be at higher risk for severe disease, people in these groups should discuss travel with a healthcare provider and consider postponing nonessential travel.

Travelers should review and follow the Centers for Disease Control’s guidelines for the prevention of coronavirus if they decide to travel to Japan.   If suspected to have Coronavirus in Japan, you may face travel delays, quarantine, and extremely expensive medical costs.