Abe to ask all schools to temporarily close

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Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe says he will ask all elementary and high schools across the country to temporarily close beginning Monday.

The development comes after a man in his 80s who was infected with the new coronavirus died in the northern prefecture of Hokkaido. Fifteen new cases of infection were reported there on Thursday.

Hokkaido’s governor said the man who died had pre-existing conditions.

Naomichi Suzuki said, ” The patient was more susceptible to respiratory problems compared to healthy people.”

Officials say 2 of the 15 new cases are children under 10 years of age.

The latest cases bring the number of confirmed infections in Hokkaido to 54, the most in Japan.

All elementary and junior high schools in the prefecture will be closed for about a week.

Infected people there include students, a teacher, and a school-bus driver.

Meanwhile health officials in the western prefecture of Osaka revealed a woman in her 40s has tested positive for the coronavirus for a second time.

The patient is a tour guide. She led a bus with visitors from Wuhan, China … the city at the center of the outbreak … last month. She was later diagnosed and hospitalized.
The woman was discharged after testing negative in early February. But she felt pains in her throat and chest and came back positive on Wednesday.

The latest developments came as crew members aboard the quarantined ship docked near Tokyo began disembarking Thursday.

Those without symptoms will be quarantined and undergo medical checkups for 14 days.

It will take about 3 days for the approximately 240 crew members of the Diamond Princess to disembark.

Across Japan, more than 900 cases of infection have been confirmed. More than 700 of those are from the cruise ship. Eight people have died.

The outbreak has prompted the Japanese government to call for major events to be canceled, delayed or scaled back over the next two weeks.