Japan on Tuesday declared a state of emergency in at least seven provinces, first time in the country's history, to stem the spread of the novel coronavirus.
The state of emergency announced by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will be applied to the capital Tokyo, as well as Osaka and five other prefectures, until May 6, according to the Japan-based news agency Kyodo.
"I decided to declare a state of emergency because we have reached a point in which the spread of infections has become rapid and widespread across the country and is threatening to have a grave impact on people's lives and the economy," the news agency cited Abe as saying.
Japan has over 3,900 confirmed cases of virus, while 92 have died.
The new measures will empower local governors to take stronger preventive steps, asking citizens to stay at home and restricting the operation of schools and other facilities.
However, violators of the order will not face legal penalty.
Last month, Japan's parliament approved changes to a law that empowered Abe to declare an emergency if COVID-19 continued to spread.
Since originating in Wuhan, China last December, the virus has spread to at least 184 countries and regions, according to figures compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
An excess of 1.35 million cases have been reported worldwide, with the global death toll over 75,900, and more than 289,000 recoveries.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.