Japan on Thursday declared a nationwide state of emergency to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced that the emergency imposed in seven provinces earlier this month will now apply to all 47 provinces, Kyodo News reported.
The country of around 126 million people has more than 9,000 COVID-19 cases, with 178 deaths and over 900 recoveries.
Abe said his government will also start providing cash handouts of 100,000 yen ($930) to all citizens.
He urged citizens to reduce people-to-people contact by at least 80 percent to help stem the virus’ spread.
The premier also called on businesses to increase teleworking to at least 70 percent.
Yasutoshi Nishimura, the minister in charge of Japan’s emergency measures, said expanding the state of emergency to the whole country was “necessary” before the Golden Week holidays that start in late April.
Golden Week refers to a collection of four national holidays that fall within the space of seven days.
The state of emergency will last at least until May 6, the last day of the annual holidays.
“The cumulative number of cases has topped 100 in Hokkaido, Ibaraki, Ishikawa, Gifu, Aichi and Kyoto [provinces]," Nishimura said.
"It's an urgent task for us to take measures to keep the flow of people to the minimum before the holidays."
According to the Kyodo News report, the nationwide state of emergency will deal a “debilitating blow” to the world’s third largest economy, which is already sliding towards recession following a consumption tax hike last year.
The novel coronavirus has spread to 185 countries and regions since emerging in China last December, with the U.S. and Europe now the hardest-hit areas in the world.
More than 2.08 million cases have been reported worldwide, with the death toll over 138,400 and almost 526,000 recoveries, according to data compiled by the U.S.’ Johns Hopkins University.Anadolu Agency website contains only a portion of the news stories offered to subscribers in the AA News Broadcasting System (HAS), and in summarized form. Please contact us for subscription options.