The governor of Tokyo has again urged people to refrain from non-essential outings, warning that the capital is at a critical juncture in preventing an explosive spread of the coronavirus.
Yuriko Koike made the appeal as she reported 40 new cases in Tokyo on Friday. The Japanese capital has seen 40 or more new patients for three straight days.
She said the figure reaffirmed that the metropolis is on the brink of a sudden surge in the number of cases.
She called on residents to share a sense of crisis and act responsibly, adding that Tokyo will work with neighboring prefectures to stop the further spread of the virus.
The governor said "non-essential outings" refers to outings that cannot be delayed. They include hospital visits by people with chronic ailments and shopping at supermarkets or convenience stores to buy necessities.
She asked residents to make their own decisions on whether they must go out.
Many people gather at parks and other outdoor locations to enjoy cherry-blossom viewing around this time of year.
Koike said the cherry blossoms will bloom again next year, and urged people to give up visiting such locations this spring to help overcome the challenges posed by the coronavirus.