February 28, 2020 / 1:01 AM / 3 months ago

Japan schools may be shut longer depending on coronavirus outbreak: health minister

Elementary school students walk toward their school in Tokyo, Japan, February 28, 2020. REUTERS/Issei Kato

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan’s health minister Katsunobu Kato said on Friday there was a chance schools could be closed longer than one or two weeks, depending on the spread of the coronavirus outbreak.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Thursday urged Japan’s entire school system, from elementary to high schools, to close from Monday until spring break late in March to help contain the coronavirus outbreak.

“There could be a chance” schools could be shut for longer, Kato told parliament. “But the priority is to do what we can now,” he said.

Reporting by Leika Kihara; Editing by Himani Sarkar

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