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Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said on Thursday that the government would ask all elementary, junior high and high schools to close from March 2 until spring break, typically around the end of March.

He was speaking at a meeting of the government’s task force to contain the spread of the new coronavirus.

“I understand every region in the country has been making efforts to prevent the spread of the outbreak.

“However, these two weeks are extremely important for Japan to curb a rise in the infections,’’ the premier said.

The schools are set to be closed until the spring break, which starts in late March.

Japanese authorities reported an eighth death from Covid-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus and more than a dozen infections, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to more than 900.

Most of the confirmed cases, 705, came from the Diamond Princess Cruise vessel.

READ ALSO: Coronavirus: Price of food, consumables spike in China

The Hokkaido prefectural government said a man in his 80s died on Thursday, five days after he tested positive for the coronavirus.

In Osaka, health officials said late Wednesday that a woman in her 40s, who had been infected with the coronavirus in late January, once again tested positive for the virus.

She tested negative in early February after being discharged from hospital.

(Reuters/NAN)

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