Japan has expanded its entry ban for foreigners from 49 more countries and territories, including South Korea, the U.S. and China, as the country struggles to contain the coronavirus outbreak.
Its entry ban now covers 73 countries and territories, or about a third of the world.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe also says everyone entering the country, including Japanese nationals, will be asked to go into a voluntary two-week quarantine upon arrival.
Under the new measures to be effective from Friday until the end of April, those who have been staying in the designated places for two weeks will not be allowed to enter Japan.
Japan had already placed an entry ban on those flying in from South Korea's southeastern city of Daegu, which reported large numbers of COVID-19 infections.
Seoul's foreign ministry expressed its regret over Tokyo's latest move, adding it comes despite clear signs South Korea is showing a steady decline of newly confirmed patients on a daily basis.
The U.S. also reacted immediately, with the U.S. State Department advising all its citizens in Japan to return home as quickly as possible.
The U.S. Embassy in Tokyo posted a letter on Tuesday for thousands of Americans working as English teachers in Japan.
It said they should take advantage of commercial flights back to the U.S., before they start to diminish.
Following the decision to postpone the 2020 Tokyo Olympics for a year, Japan is witnessing a sudden surge in coronavirus infections.
Over 260 confirmed cases were reported on Monday alone, bringing Japan's total to more than 3-thousand so far.
Against this backdrop, the Japanese Medical Association is urging the Abe administration to immediately declare a state of emergency.
Kim Hyo-sun, Arirang News.