Photo/Illutration A group of Japanese tourists is stranded at Ben Gurion International Airport in Israel after being denied boarding a booked flight on Feb. 24. (Ryo Takano)

Many countries and regions have tightened travel restrictions from Japan at ports and airports with many Japanese being caught up in the protective measures against COVID-19.

China, where the deadly disease originated, has been concerned about a potential “reverse influx” of the new coronavirus.

Except for Hubei province, where the epicenter city Wuhan is located, the number of patients who have newly contracted COVID-19 has dramatically dropped in China.

Several cities, including Beijing, Dalian, Nanjing and Suzhou, have begun requesting people who have been in Japan recently to stay at home or a hotel for 14 days.

Japanese expats living in China have been busy exchanging travel information and anecdotal experiences such as, “A person in protective clothing waited for me at the airport and took me to a bus.”

Some countries have imposed tougher measures, banning entry of such visitors.

Israel has banned foreign nationals from visiting if they have been in Japan in the past 14 days, according to the Japanese Foreign Ministry.

Micronesia and Iraq have already taken similar measures.

Saudi Arabia has imposed restrictions on visitors entering the country for sightseeing or business, the ministry said.

Kuniharu Nakamura, chairman of the Japan Foreign Trade Council Inc., who is also chairman of Sumitomo Corp., expressed concerns of the effects of such restrictions on businesses.

Nakamura said Japanese trading companies have been told by foreign firms, “No need for you to come now.”

Taiwan has requested visitors from Japan to undertake “voluntary health management” by wearing a face mask and checking their temperature in the morning and evening for 14 days.

Hong Kong has asked visitors from Japan to remain at a home or a hotel for 14 days.

Thailand has urged visitors from Japan to avoid going to any place with many people for 14 days after entry.

Vietnam has sent about 160,000 nationals to Japan as technical interns. Vietnamese nationals account for about half the total number of foreign technical interns in Japan.

With the COVID-19 spreading, the Vietnamese government has worked to protect its citizens and requested firms that send technical interns to Japan to delay their departure.

Government officials have discussed a plan to repatriate Vietnamese in Japan, according to Vietnamese news media.