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Japanese cities empty after government toughens coronavirus measures

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Japanese cities empty after government toughens coronavirus measures
Copyright  CHARLY TRIBALLEAU/AFP or licensors
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Police in Tokyo have been ensuring the streets of the Japanese capital remain quiet after the government declared a state of emergency in an effort to contain the spread of coronavirus.

Kabukicho, Japan's largest adult entertainment district, is normally teeming with late-night revellers, but the government says these kinds of areas are high-risk when it comes to spreading the virus.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced the expansion of measures at a meeting of the task force set up to curtail the coronavirus outbreak.

"Regardless of whether it is a region where the state of emergency is in place or not," said Abe. "We request that all prefectures of Japan avoid bars, nightclubs, karaoke, and places that involve customer services in shopping areas such as restaurants."

Abe reiterated his plea for companies to allow people to work from home, stressing that passengers on commuter train crowds had thinned, but not by enough.

Although department stores and movie theatres have closed, some retail chains are still open.

Cardboard beds

Cardboard boxes are serving as temporary beds at Tokyo’s Narita international airport for arriving passengers awaiting results of coronavirus tests.

Japan is testing people who fly in from dozens of nations including the United States and Italy.

The 2020 Tokyo Olympics have been postponed until next year but the event's chief executive in Japan says that it's not certain the games will go ahead even then.

As of Sunday morning, Japan had 6,005 coronavirus cases, and 99 reported deaths according to a count by Johns Hopkins University.

The concern is growing that cases will surge dramatically and hospitals will be overloaded.