WASHIGNTON: The US Department of State raised its travel advisory for Japan to Level 2 on Saturday, urging Americans to "exercise increased caution" due to the spreading new COVID-19 coronavirus.
The advisory was raised to the second-lowest level in the department's four-tier warning system. Previously, the Level 1 advisory called on US citizens traveling to Japan to "exercise normal precautions."
In the new advisory, the department said, "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."
Noting that "older adults and those with chronic medical conditions may be at higher risk for severe disease," it said, "People in these groups should...consider postponing nonessential travel."
Also on Saturday, the department raised its travel advisory for South Korea, where COVID-19 infections have been growing, to Level 2.
For China, the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak, the department has raised its travel advisory to Level 4, telling Americans, "Do not to travel" to China.
The US Center for Disease Control and Prevention has also raised travel advisory for Japan and South Korea to Level 2, urging travelers to "practice enhanced precautions." This is the second highest of the center's three levels of warnings.