Abe made the remarks at a House of Councillors Budget Committee meeting on the fiscal 2020 draft budget, saying that it is important to focus on the worst-case scenario, including what kind of measures should be taken if infections rapidly spread in certain areas, and to prepare for it.
According to Abe, the government will quickly draft legislation to minimize the outbreak's impact on people's lives. He added that the measures would include a declaration of a state of emergency.
Meanwhile, he talked about his request last Thursday to shut down schools across the country from Monday. Children's health and safety are a top priority, and an epidemic among children at school must be prevented, he said.
Nearly all prefectures in Japan began shutting their schools on Monday in an effort to prevent the further spread of the epidemic.
As of Monday, the number of confirmed cases in Japan has risen to more than 960, with over 700 of them stemming from the virus-hit Diamond Princess cruise ship quarantined in the port city of Yokohama.
Medical experts and government officials said small groups of infections, or clusters, have already appeared in the country. - Xinhua/Asian News Network
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