All elementary, middle and high schools closed in Japan over fears of coronavirus

All elementary, middle and high schools closed in Japan over fears of coronavirus

Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has asked all public schools to close from Thursday through to March 4 over fears of the coronavirus.

According to Japan Times, the PM said the government attaches the top priority to the health and safety of children.

“Efforts have been made to prevent the spread of infection among children in each region, and these one or two weeks will be an extremely critical period,” he told a meeting of key Cabinet ministers on the coronavirus outbreak crisis.

1,600 elementary and junior high schools in Hokkaido had already decided to close for a week over the outbreak.

The PM’s surprise announcement comes two days after the Japanese Government urged businesses to have staff work from home to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

A new government strategy for fighting the disease, unveiled at a cabinet meeting on Tuesday, urged companies to recommend telecommuting for workers and stagger their shifts.

People with symptoms of cold or fever were advised to stay at home, and event organizers told to consider whether to proceed with plans.

A woman working as a tour-bus guide in Japan tested positive for the coronavirus for a second time, Osaka’s prefectural government said, the first known person in the country to do so amid growing concerns about the spread of the infection.

The second positive test comes as the number of confirmed cases in Japan rose to 186 by Thursday from around 170 the day before.

The 186 cases reported by Japan’s health ministry are separate from 704 reported from an outbreak on the Diamond Princess cruise liner that was quarantined off Tokyo earlier this month.

A total of seven people have died, including four from the ship.