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Japan set to close all schools ahead of worldwide coronavirus outbreak

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is requesting all schools close until late March

Photo by Koichi Kamoshida/Getty Images

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is requesting that all schools nationwide close its doors until late March in order to tamp down the spread of coronavirus, or specifically known as COVID-19.

Beginning Thursday, schools will be closed until further notice. The Japanese school year ends in March.

What are the details?

According to ABC News, about 12.8 million students at 34,800 schools nationwide will be impacted by the closures.

In a statement on the request, Abe said, "The coming week or two is an extremely important time. This is to prioritize the health and safety of the children and take precautions to avoid the risk of possible large-scale infections."

Abe also added that schools should consider the virus when planning March exams and graduation ceremonies.

Norinobu Sawada, who is vice principal at Koizumi Elementary School in Kitami City, Hokkaido, said, "Our graduation ceremony is coming up soon, and it's quite a hectic time of the year. The most important thing is to prevent infections, so there aren't many other options."

At the time of this writing, Japan has at least 910 confirmed cases of coronavirus. At least eight people have died in Japan as a result of the virus.

Abe has also implored business owners to permit employees to work from home or work reduced hours in an effort to stop the contagion.

Anything else?

The Centers for Disease Control and the California Department of Public Health confirmed the first apparent case of coronavirus from community spread on Thursday in California.

Health officials don't know how the unnamed patient contracted the virus. The patient has not been exposed to any coronavirus patients, nor had traveled outside of the U.S. in recent weeks.

The unnamed patient is the 15th confirmed coronavirus case in the U.S.

In a statement, the California Department of Public Health confirmed the news.

"This would be the first known instance of person-to-person transmission in the general public in the United States," the statement read. "Previously known instances of person-to-person transmission in the United States include one instance in Chicago, Illinois, and one in San Benito County, California. Both cases were after close, prolonged interaction with a family member who returned from Wuhan, China, and had tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by novel coronavirus. As of today, including this case, California has had seven travel-related cases, one close contact case, and now one community transmission."

You can read more here.

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