Shinzo Abe. Photo: Rodrigo Reyes Marin/ZUMA Wire/dpa

JAPAN: Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe informed both chambers of parliament of his intention to declare a state of emergency in Tokyo and six other prefectures as the number of cases nears 4,000, reported Sputnik news agency.

“To prevent the further spread of the novel coronavirus infection, I consider it necessary to introduce a one-month emergency regime in seven prefectures: Tokyo, Kanagawa, Saitama, Chiba, Osaka, Hyogo, Fukuoka,” Abe said in a live broadcast from the parliament.

The prime minister is set to chair a cabinet meeting later in the day where the state of emergency will officially be declared.

Japan’s urban centres have seen a jump in the number of coronavirus cases reported, with over 150 in the past 24 hours with seven deaths as a result.

Initially, Japan appeared to have successfully mitigated the virus’ spread, reporting less than 1,000 active cases as late as March 20.

The total number has since climbed to 3,906 and has resulted in 80 deaths as a result, according to Japan’s health ministry. – Bernama