Tokyo urged to stay home at weekend as virus cases climb

People wearing face masks, amid concerns of the COVID-19 coronavirus, cross a street in Tokyo’s Ginza area on March 18, 2020. (Photo by CHARLY TRIBALLEAU / AFP)

TOKYO, Japan (AFP) — Tokyo’s governor urged residents to stay home this weekend, warning of a possible “explosion” of the coronavirus with a record 41 new cases discovered on Wednesday.

Yuriko Koike said the Japanese capital, so far spared the draconian measures seen in other major global cities, was at a “critical stage” in containing the virus that has confined one-third of the planet to their homes.

“We urge people at all costs to refrain from going out this weekend if it’s not urgent,” Koike said at an emergency news conference.

She also encouraged Tokyo residents to work at home during weekdays and refrain from going out at night.

“Starting this week, there are increasing concerns that we could see an explosion of infections,” Koike warned.

The Tokyo metropolitan government said 41 people were confirmed infected with the new coronavirus on Wednesday — the largest daily figure so far reported in the capital.

Nearly 1,200 people have been infected across Japan including around 200 cases in Tokyo, with 43 deaths linked to the outbreak.

Japan also told its citizens to avoid all non-urgent overseas travel late on Wednesday.

© Agence France-Presse