(2nd LD) Japan joins other countries with entry ban of foreigners from S. Korea's coronavirus hotspots
(ATTN: ADDS more details on ministry's summoning of top Japanese envoy in paras 9-10)
By Kim Seung-yeon
SEOUL, Feb. 26 (Yonhap) -- Japan joined Vietnam and Singapore on Wednesday in banning the entry of travelers with a record of recent visits to South Korea's southeastern city of Daegu and the nearby county of Cheongdo over coronavirus concerns.
In a government meeting, Tokyo approved the ban on those who have been in Daegu or Cheongdo in the past two weeks. Daegu and the surrounding North Gyeongsang Province, to which Cheongdo belongs, have been hit the hardest by the virus.
Japan's decision follows similar measures taken by Vietnam and Singapore.
Vietnam imposed an entry ban Tuesday, one day after it barred 18 South Korean tourists who flew to Da Nang from Daegu from entering the country.
Singapore put the entry ban into force earlier this week after raising its travel alert for the two areas recommending against making trips there.
Japan has also raised the travel alert level for the two areas.
About 80 percent of confirmed cases in South Korea came from Daegu and North Gyeongsang Province, where Cheongdo is located, about 300-320 kilometers away from Seoul. As of Wednesday, South Korea had added 169 new cases of the new coronavirus, bringing the total number of infections to 1,146, with 12 fatalities.
Japan has barred the entry of foreigners from China's Hubei province, where Wuhan, the epicenter of the virus outbreak, is located, as well as Zhejiang province.
South Korean First Vice Foreign Minister Cho Sei-young called in top Japanese envoy to Seoul, Koji Tomita, to discuss the latest restriction on Korean nationals.
In the meeting, Cho apparently stressed that no excessive measures should be taken against Koreans and explained Seoul's containment efforts to the Japanese side.
Tokyo's latest decision comes on the heel of a string of entry restrictions on visitors from Korea by other foreign countries. So far, 16 countries have imposed entry bans, with 11 others having toughened quarantine processes.
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