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Coronavirus

Hokkaido calls for temporary shutdown of schools to fight virus

Students, teacher and school bus driver among prefecture's 35 confirmed cases

Japan's northernomost main island is experiencing one of the nation's worst coronavirus outbreaks, one that is hitting the prefecture's schools especially hard.

SAPPORO (Kyodo) -- In an effort to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus, the education board of Hokkaido will urge local authorities on Wednesday to temporarily close all 1,600 public elementary and junior high schools in the prefecture.

Hokkaido has confirmed a total of 35 people infected with the pneumonia-causing virus that originated in China. As of Tuesday, Japan had 862 people infected with the virus, including 691 who had been quarantined on the Diamond Princess cruise ship.

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