Graduation ceremonies scaled down in Japan due to virus – Nationwide
A number of schools in Japan held graduation ceremonies Tuesday amid the new coronavirus outbreak, by limiting the number of participants and shortening the proceedings to prevent the spread of the pneumonia-causing virus. As Japan entered the last month of the academic year, schools turned to unusual measures to enable graduates and their families to mark the occasion in a brief respite from weeks of school closures prompted by a government request.
At Midoricho Elementary School in Chiba, near Tokyo, only graduates, their parents and teachers attended the ceremony. Many participants wore masks and speeches were handed out on paper rather than delivered orally.
On Feb. 28, the education ministry asked education boards across the country to close their schools as part of efforts to contain the outbreak, prompting many to follow the request. Some education boards have decided to resume school from Monday, although most schools remain shut and expected to do so until the spring break, which normally ends in early April.
A kindergarten in Wakayama Prefecture, western Japan, held its graduation ceremony by dividing its 30 graduates into two groups and shortening the event to about 20 minutes each. Guests and other children at the kindergarten refrained from attending, and the number of parents attending were limited to one per graduate. All attendees wore masks and sat 1 meter apart to avoid potential infections.
Koyamadai High School in Tokyo’s Shinagawa Ward also held a shortened and scaled-back graduation ceremony.
Confirmed new coronavirus infections in Japan now 1,528, including cruise ship cases – Nationwide
The number of new coronavirus infections reported in Japan topped 1,500 on Sunday, as the government strives to curb the spread of the virus through various steps, including asking people to avoid mass gatherings and implementing travel restrictions.
The tally stood at 1,528, including 697 cases from the Diamond Princess cruise ship that was quarantined near Tokyo, after more than 30 new cases were reported Sunday by the health ministry and local authorities. A total of 31 infected people have died.
Japan has the ninth-largest number of infections in the world, behind China, Italy, Iran, South Korea, Spain, France, Germany and the United States, according to a Kyodo News tally based on information such as data released by each government.
Among the newly reported cases, two men who tested positive after arriving at Haneda airport in Tokyo had been to Italy, while a boy in the northernmost island of Hokkaido also tested positive for the virus, according to the health ministry.
In a bid to contain the outbreak and minimize its potential impact on the economy, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has requested that all schools in Japan be shut until spring break ends in early April and big sports and cultural events be canceled, postponed or scaled-down.
Tokyo Disney parks extend closure until early April over virus – Tokyo
Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea will remain closed through early April over fears of the coronavirus outbreak, the resort operators said Wednesday. Oriental Land also said the opening of new zones and attractions scheduled for April 15 will be pushed back to mid-May, as the government calls on the public to avoid unnecessary outings and crowded places.
The announcement came a day after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe called for a 10-day extension of measures intended to halt the spread of the new coronavirus, including cancelling, delaying or scaling back major events. The virus has so far infected 568 people in Japan and been linked with 12 deaths. Oriental Land originally closed the parks from February 29 with a plan to reopen from March 16.
More than 30 million visitors flood into the two parks each year, including children during the spring school break, and they are among the most popular destinations for tourists coming to Tokyo. Universal Studios Japan, which had originally planned to remain closed for a fortnight until March 15, also said Wednesday it would remain shut for at least another week.