Japan closing all schools until April to control spread of coronavirus


A man wearing a mask visits a beach as snow-capped Mount Fuji is visible in the distance in Fujisawa, Japan, Thursday, Feb. 27, 2020. According to local businesses in the area, the number of visitors has dropped significantly since the outbreak of COVID-19. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

TOKYO (AP) — Japan is announcing the closure of schools nationwide to help control the spread of the new virus. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe says he asked all elementary, middle and high schools to remain closed until spring holidays begin in late March.

The measure comes amid growing concern about the rise in the number of untraceable cases in northern Japan and elsewhere.

Japan follows China in closing all schools nationwide.

Department of Defense Education Activity’s Japan district hasn’t said whether their schools will close\, but announced this week that all activities involving student travel have been postponed through the end of March.

DoDEA had closed several schools in South Korea, Europe and the Middle East out of “an abundance of caution.”

Japan now has more than 890 cases, including 705 from a quarantined cruise ship. Officials in Japan’s northernmost main island of Hokkaido said earlier Thursday that they were closing all 1,600 elementary and middle schools in the island prefecture, with the governor saying the coming one to two weeks are crucial in fighting the virus.

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