TOKYO (Reuters) – Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Saturday called for citizens across Japan to avoid evening spots like bars and restaurants, NHK reported, in a ratcheting of social distancing guidance to fight the spread of the coronavirus.
The nationwide call for citizens to stay home in the evenings follows the declaration of a state of emergency in Tokyo and six other prefectures last week.
Abe has been gradually tightening guidance, seeking to lessen the impact on the economy as it is hammered by the pandemic, leading to criticism that he has been too slow to act and risks having the virus spread out of control.
Tokyo, the current center of Japan’s coronavirus outbreak, identified more than 190 new coronavirus cases on Saturday, topping Friday’s record high of 189 cases, NHK said.
(Reporting by Sam Nussey; Editing by Edwina Gibbs)