Coronavirus Update (19 March)

Hi Kumamoto,

We’re back with some updates:

New cases in Kyushu
On Tuesday evening, Miyazaki Prefecture confirmed two new cases of COVID-19. One of those cases is a male in his 40s who resides in Takachiho Town, which is next door to Yamato Town in Kumamoto (case summary). 
In Fukuoka, a foreign university student developed symptoms after returning from Finland last week and tested positive (read more here).

There have been no additional cases reported in Kumamoto Prefecture.
One additional case was announced Kumamoto City, bringing the total number to 7. 

The case is of a woman in her 20s living in Higashi-ku. After returning from a trip to Spain with her husband Saturday last week, she reportedly began to have symptoms such as a fever, sore throat and fatigue. Yesterday (19 March), which was the fourth day after symptoms appeared, her husband consulted the local health centre. She received a test the same day, which came back positive for COVID-19 a few hours later. 

Apart from one occasion on which the husband briefly visited his workplace and immediately returned home, the couple have reportedly been staying at home together since their arrival from Spain. Health officials are currently investigating any potential contacts and are asking the public to continue to practice cough etiquette and hand washing.
Here is the full press release from Kumamoto City:

In other Kyushu news, the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare agreed to remove the classification of Oita Prefecture as a “transmission cluster” as only one case has been confirmed. (1 – article, 2 – revised map)

●Entry restrictions to Japan for Europeans
Japan is suspending visa-free travel for holders of passports from all European countries, meaning nationals of these countries will not be able to enter Japan as a temporary visitor without a visa. This includes visitors from countries which some JETs in Kumamoto call home (the UK, Ireland, France and Sweden). The restrictions apply to all European countries, in addition to Iran and Egypt. 

For the time being, foreigners (including nationals of European countries) with a valid status of residence in Japan (e.g., JETs) can still re-enter the country as long as they have not spent any time in the past 14-days in a country subject to entry restrictions. 
The new restrictions will come into effect on Saturday, 21 March at midnight. (

●A message from us
We recognise the situation with COVID-19 is a delicate and constantly changing situation. It is good to keep up to date on the most current information as events unfold in unprecedented ways. We are aware that a number of countries have been encouraging those travelling for business or leisure etc. overseas to return home, and that airlines have been reducing, though not completely eliminating, the numbers of flights. Travel advisories can sometimes mean that insurance for travellers is no longer valid if they depart after the warnings are issued. However, please note that JET Programme participants are not considered short-term travellers or holidaymakers, as they are on a one-year employment contract, and your enrolment in Japanese national health service is valid until the end of your contract and the JET accident insurance is valid for up to one month after that.

We understand this can all be unsettling for those of us living overseas away from our families. Nevertheless, over the past few weeks, we have been encouraged by the strength and resilience of the JET community. 

Bilal & Lily