Updates on COVID-19 in Japan

March 27

Listen to CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield’s interview with the FOX News Rundown podcast.


March 26

The State Department is advising all Americans abroad to enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) at step.state.gov. STEP is a free service that allows U.S. citizens and nationals traveling and living abroad to enroll their trip with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate.


March 25

In an op-ed published in USA Today, Surgeon General Jerome Adams urges hospitals: “Until we can flatten the COVID-19 curve in the United States – please consider delaying your elective procedures.”


March 24

In a new research report, the CDC recommends “all persons should defer all cruise travel worldwide during the COVID-19 pandemic.”


March 23

Over the weekend, the CDC updated its COVID-19 webpage to provide additional information for keeping children healthy while school is out.


March 19

The CDC recommends that older adults and persons with severe chronic conditions talk to their health care providers about getting extra necessary medications or use mail order for medications in case there is a COVID-19 outbreak in their community. For more information, check out the CDC’s info page for people who may be at a higher risk of getting sick from the illness.


March 18

Dr. Anthony Fauci, Ambassador Deborah Birx, and Surgeon General Jerome Adams filmed a short video explaining social distancing. Click on the image below to go to the video.


March 17

The CDC recommends all persons defer any travel on cruise ships, including river cruises, worldwide because of the increased risk of SARS-CoV-2 transmission onboard ships. Cruise ship passengers, including those who take river cruises, are at increased risk of exposure to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.


March 16

Check out the CDC’s COVID-19 page on protecting your family. It includes useful information on how to protect yourself, putting a household plan into action, cleaning and disinfecting, and recommendations for pregnant women as well as women who are currently breastfeeding.


March 13

The CDC has raised its global travel alert to Level 2 and recommends that older adults and people of any age with serious chronic medical conditions are at increased risk for severe disease and should consider postponing nonessential travel.


March 12

The Department of State has issued a Global Level 3 Health Advisory recommending U.S. citizens to reconsider travelling abroad due to COVID-19. “Many areas throughout the world are now experiencing COVID-19 outbreaks and taking action that may limit traveler mobility, including quarantines and border restrictions,” the alert noted, adding that “even countries, jurisdictions, or areas where cases have not been reported may restrict travel without notice.”


March 11

Read the transcript of the CDC’s telebriefing with Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases.

CDC Director Redfield tweeted that “older adults and people with severe chronic health conditions may be at higher risk for more serious COVID-19 illness,” linking to a CDC article on those most at risk of serious illness from COVID-19.


March 10

The U.S. Government has launched coronavirus.gov, which links to the CDC’s info page on COVID-19. The site includes information on prevention and treatment as well as a Frequently Asked Questions page.


March 9

The State Department recommends that U.S. citizens, especially those with underlying medical conditions, not travel by cruise ship. Passengers with plans to travel by cruise ship should contact their cruise line companies directly for further information and continue to monitor the travel.state.gov website and see the latest information from the CDC.

Starting from midnight on March 9, the Government of Japan requests all travelers arriving from China or the Republic of Korea, including Japanese nationals, to self-quarantine at home or hotels for 14 days. These travelers are also requested not to use public transportation for any purpose, including transit to or from airports. Poster in English


March 6

This week, the U.S. Government announced a commitment of $37 million in financing from the Emergency Reserve Fund for Contagious Infectious Diseases at the U.S. Agency for International Development for 25 countries affected by novel coronavirus COVID-19 or at high risk of its spread.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a list of EPA-registered disinfectant products that have qualified for use against SARS-CoV-2, the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19. “Using the correct disinfectant is an important part of preventing and reducing the spread of illnesses along with other critical aspects such as hand washing,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler.

And the Department of Health and Human Services announced that it intends to purchase 500 million N95 respirators over the next 18 months for the Strategic National Stockpile.


March 5

The CDC has set up a webpage debunking rumors about COVID-19.


March 4

President Trump participated in a roundtable briefing at the National Institutes of Health’s Vaccine Research Center. Click here for the transcript of the remarks.

In an op-ed in CNN.com, U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams writes, “Americans should take comfort in knowing that we have the best team in the world to protect them from COVID-19, and the best public health and health care systems to rely on. We should be cautious and take appropriate measures to prepare and protect ourselves, but we should not be afraid.”


March 3

Vice President Mike Pence and Ambassador Deborah Birx, the White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator, conducted a briefing on COVID-19.

“The White House Coronavirus Task Force has been working every single day to ensure the health, safety & well-being of the American people,” the Vice President wrote on Twitter.

Check out the CDC’s COVID-19 travel page, which includes updated risk assessment information for all countries.


March 2

Dr. Nancy Messonnier from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention describes how COVID-19 is spread.

U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams explained that “the best way to protect yourself and your community is with everyday preventive actions, like staying home when you are sick and washing hands with soap and water, to help slow the spread of respiratory illness.” He urged Americans to “Get your #FluShot – fewer flu patients = more resources for #COVID19.”


February 27

On Thursday afternoon, we sent to U.S. citizens from the Diamond Princess updated guidance from the CDC on what steps are needed to lift Do Not Board (DNB) travel restrictions.


February 26

On Wednesday evening, the Embassy sent out a message to all U.S. citizen passengers and crew remaining in Japan. The message provided additional information on obtaining testing that complies with the CDC guidance. We also passed on a message from Princess Cruises, which is assisting passengers with lodging, onward flights, and daily expenses.


February 25

On Tuesday evening, we sent out a message to all U.S. citizen passengers and crew remaining in Japan. The message provided additional clarification on the processes necessary for them to return to the United States. It clarified contact information for the CDC and provided clearer guidance on the 14-day Do Not Board period.


February 21

The U.S. Embassy in Tokyo continues to provide all appropriate consular assistance to U.S. citizens from the Diamond Princess. On Friday evening, we sent passengers and crew a Fact Sheet on travel restrictions. Any U.S. citizen from the Diamond Princess needing assistance can contact us at USGShipContact@state.gov or call (+81) 03-3224-5000.


February 20

On Thursday evening, the Embassy sent a letter to U.S. Citizens from the Diamond Princess who have tested positive for COVID-19 in Japan.


February 19

The U.S. Embassy and the CDC sent the following letters to passengers remaining aboard the Diamond Princess. (Embassy letter) (CDC letter)

In addition to the above letter, the CDC released a media notice with more information.


February 18

The U.S. Embassy in Tokyo continues to closely monitor the situation on the Diamond Princess. Any U.S. citizen who is on board the ship or hospitalized who requires consular assistance should email us at USGShipContact@state.gov or call us at (+81) 03-3224-5000.


February 17

On February 17 at 0705 JST, two charter flights carrying passengers from the Diamond Princess cruise ship departed Tokyo en route to the United States.

U.S. Embassy Tokyo will continue to provide all possible consular services to U.S. citizens remaining in Japan.

The Department of State has no higher priority than the welfare and safety of U.S. citizens abroad.

We extend our thanks to the Government of Japan for its invaluable collaboration with us, and for its commitment to protecting the welfare of U.S. citizens. We also extend our sincere gratitude to the Self-Defense Forces for helping to transport our American citizens, a contribution in the true spirit of the Alliance.


February 16

This letter was sent to American passengers and crew on Sunday morning. It includes details on the repatriation operation as well as information for those who select not to board.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a statement on repatriation of American passengers and crew.


February 15

UPDATE: Here is a follow-up email with additional information sent to Americans on board the vessel about the voluntary repatriation operation.

The Department of State, working closely with the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and other partner agencies, will provide a chartered aircraft to bring passengers directly from Japan to the United States.

The Embassy informed American passengers and crew on board about this decision in an email sent at 3:24, Tokyo time. A copy of the letter can be read here.

We continue to collaborate closely with HHS, Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the Government of Japan, and Carnival Cruise Lines on all aspects of this dynamic situation. The U.S. Embassy remains in close contact with all relevant authorities to ensure U.S. citizens aboard the ship, and their families, are fully informed as the situation develops.

Our primary goal is to ensure the welfare and safety of all U.S. citizens involved.

U.S. citizens aboard the Diamond Princess, hospitalized at local hospitals, as well as their friends and family can continue to reach us at USGShipContact@state.gov or call us at (+81) 03-3224-5000.


February 14

The Embassy is coordinating closely with the Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare (MLHW) and Princess Cruises on the voluntary disembarkation announced by the Japanese Government yesterday afternoon. The disembarkation of passengers will take place over the next few days and it is our understanding that this will be a phased approach, with the most medically vulnerable passengers in the first phase, including older adults with pre-existing health conditions.

Disembarked passengers will serve the remainder of their quarantine in Japanese government facilities.

Meanwhile, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) continues to collaborate closely with Japanese health authorities to ensure precautions are being taken to prevent the spread of illness on the Diamond Princess. The CDC has deployed a subject matter expert to assist MLHW and currently has four experts on the ground to assist in our efforts. Additional experts from the U.S. are expected to arrive over the next several days.

We continue to be in close contact with American passengers and crew members and are providing ongoing recommendations to help protect their health. Over the three-day weekend, the Embassy will continue to closely monitor the situation and update passengers on developments. Any U.S. citizens aboard the Diamond Princess, hospitalized at local hospitals, as well as their friends and family can reach us at USGShipContact@state.gov or call us at (+81) 03-3224-5000.

Lastly, we are sending an email to American citizens on board the vessel every day. Here is a copy of the email that was sent on Friday night.


February 13

This afternoon, the Japanese Government announced that certain groups of passengers on board the Diamond Princess will be allowed to voluntarily disembark in the coming days to continue quarantine in Japanese government facilities. We understand that this voluntary option will begin with passengers over 80 with pre-existing health conditions.

In response to the announcement, the Embassy sent U.S. citizens on board the vessel a letter from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention with more information.

Read the transcript of a February 12 CDC teleconference on COVID-19 (previously referred to as Novel Coronavirus).

The Embassy sends an email to American citizens on board the vessel every day. Here is a copy of the email that was sent on Thursday afternoon.


February 12

Consular officers continue to visit hospitalized Americans from the Diamond Princess.

Throughout the day, Embassy officials coordinated with Government of Japan counterparts as well as interagency partners in the U.S, including the Department of Health and Human Services.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released new guidance for ships managing Coronavirus. The guidance includes recommendations for evaluating suspected cases of Coronavirus, preventing infection among crew members, proper use of protective equipment, and cleaning and disinfection practices.

We continue to urge U.S. citizens aboard the Diamond Princess who need assistance getting medication to email us at USGShipContact@state.gov or call us at (+81) 03-3224-5000.

The Embassy sends an email to American citizens on board the vessel every day. Here is a copy of the email that was sent on Wednesday night.


February 11

An epidemiologist with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has arrived in Tokyo and is assisting in our coordination efforts.

Last night, Chargé d’Affaires Joe Young had another productive meeting with officials from the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare to discuss efforts to assist Americans aboard the Diamond Princess.

We are continuing to provide appropriate consular assistance to U.S. citizens on board the vessel as well as visiting Americans who have been taken to local hospitals.

The Government of Japan continues to accelerate the delivery of medication for individuals with chronic medical issues and to increase medical support for the passengers. American Citizens aboard the vessel who need assistance getting medication should email us at USGShipContact@state.gov or call us at (+81) 03-3224-5000.


February 10

Today, Chargé d’Affaires Joe Young sent the below video message to American passengers aboard the Diamond Princess. He urged anyone needing assistance to email us at USGShipContact@state.gov or call us at (+81) 03-3224-5000.

On Twitter, the World Health Organization reiterated the Japanese government’s decision to end the quarantine on February 19. This is consistent with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance.

Additionally, Japan’s National Institute of Infectious Diseases is posting updates on Coronavirus here.


February 9

The U.S. Embassy in Tokyo continues to closely monitor the situation on the Diamond Princess. We are in constant communication with the Japanese government, Carnival, as well as the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and are providing all appropriate consular assistance to U.S. citizens on board the Diamond Princess as well as those who’ve been transferred to local hospitals.

Any U.S. citizen on board the ship, or their family members, can contact us at a dedicated email address: USGShipContact@state.gov

Follow @USEmbassyTokyo and @ACSTokyo on Twitter for updates from the Embassy.