All schools in Japan have been ordered closed as the country works to contain the spread of the coronavirus.
The closure is expected to continue until April and affects approximately 13 million students. More than 200 people have so far been infected with the coronavirus in Japan.
At the same time, head of The World Health Organization, Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus, said the global outbreak had now reached a “decisive point” and had “pandemic potential”. He urged governments to act swiftly and aggressively to contain the virus.
When making the announcement, PM Shinzo Abe said the first weeks of March would be an “extremely critical period” for preventing virus transmission. “The government attaches the top priority to the health and safety of children,” he said.
Japan’s decision to close all school comes after China did the same thing. It made the decision not to reopen schools on the mainland after the Spring Festival holiday and has asked nearly 200 million students to follow classes online from their homes. Hong Kong is also keeping schools closed until April.