Japan's Hokkaido declares state of emergency over virus

Japan's Hokkaido declares state of emergency over virus
Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, center, speaks during a meeting of a task force on the new coronavirus at his official residence in Tokyo Thursday, Feb. 27, 2020. Abe was asking all elementary, middle and high schools to remain shut until spring holidays begin in late March. (Kyodo News via AP)

The Japanese island of Hokkaido is declaring a state of emergency over the rapid spread of the new virus there.

The governor says the emergency will continue until mid-March.

He is urging all residents to stay home this weekend, which he says is a critical time to keep the situation from worsening.

The number of cases in Hokkaido has risen rapidly in recent days to 63.

Schools throughout Japan are closing until the end of March.

  • Japan's Hokkaido declares state of emergency over virus
    Students arrives at their elementary school in Sendai, northern Japan, Friday morning, Feb. 28, 2020, a day after Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's announcement. Abe asked all elementary, middle and high schools nationwide on Thursday to close until late March from March 2 to help control the spread of the new virus in the country. (Hironori Asakawa/Kyodo News via AP)
  • Japan's Hokkaido declares state of emergency over virus
    A horse race is held without spectators amid growing concern about the spread of a new coronavirus, in Tokyo Thursday, Feb. 27, 2020. (Yuta Omori/Kyodo News via AP)
  • Japan's Hokkaido declares state of emergency over virus
    Elementary school students go to their school in Osaka, western Japan, Friday morning, Feb. 28, 2020, a day after Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's announcement. Abe asked all elementary, middle and high schools nationwide on Thursday to close until late March from March 2 to help control the spread of the new virus in the country. (Yoshihiko Imai/Kyodo News via AP)

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