“I think the world is weighted down with coronavirus,” said Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike during a Wednesday night press conference.

The day after Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced the Tokyo 2020 Olympics will be postponed until 2021 due to the worldwide coronavirus pandemic, Tokyo’s governor officially requested residents to stay home this weekend (March 28–29, 2020) and for employees to work from home as much as possible. She added that people should refrain from going out at night.

Coronavirus Cases in Tokyo on the Rise

It seems Japan’s days as the unscathed warrior in the worldwide coronavirus battle are over. On Wednesday, March 25, Tokyo recorded 41 new confirmed cases of coronavirus, the most Japan’s capital city reported in a single day.

Five of the confirmed recently returned from traveling abroad. In total 212 coronavirus cases have been confirmed in Tokyo.

On the same day, the Japan Foreign Ministry requested all people to avoid nonessential travel overseas. The Foreign Ministry lists a total of 41 countries from which inbound travelers must be quarantined for 14 days upon arrival in Japan, including the European Schengen Agreement states and the USA (the latter of which applies to aircrafts or ships that leave the United States after 0:00am of March 26 Japan Standard Time).

A Subdued Cherry Blossom Season

Tokyo’s parks normally draw in millions of visitors during cherry blossom season, which will be at full bloom this weekend. The Tokyo Metropolitan Government (TMG) had already requested people to refrain from gathering in large groups at city-regulated parks, such as Yoyogi Park, Ueno Park and Inokashira Park. Shinjuku Gyoen has banned picnic sheets, with blue-uniformed security guards on the lookout for offenders.

Now Koike is asking everybody to stay home and refrain from going outdoors for nonessential reasons. It is not clear if the governor’s request holds any legal consequences, or if it extends beyond this week.

She cited the same safety precautions issued by Abe 10 days ago, warning people to avoid places such as fitness centers, live music venues and other establishments with poor ventilation where large groups of people cluster and communicate in close contact.

“I would like to ask for your cooperation,” said Koike.

Feature image: GOD_Cat / Shutterstock.com