ANKARA 

Japan on Friday asked local governments to extend the upcoming New Year holidays to help stem the rising tide of coronavirus cases, which have climbed past 100,000.

Yasutoshi Nishimura, the minister in charge of the government’s coronavirus response, said extending the holiday could reduce crowds and avoid another spike in cases.

Japan’s coronavirus case tally climbed to 100,407 on Thursday night, including 1,733 deaths.

The country has done nearly 2.39 million tests to find the infection.

A government committee had suggested extending the New Year holidays until Jan. 11, Kyodo News agency reported.

This year, the holidays would normally end by Jan. 3, as the next day is Monday – a workday – which could trigger a crowds on the first three days of the year.

Nishimura also asked people to take preventive steps on Halloween, this Saturday, Oct. 31.

The provincial governors’ association supported the government’s anti-coronavirus measures.

Some 900 business organizations have been asked to follow suit.

Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi announced today the lowering of travel advisories for eight countries, including China, South Korea, Australia, Singapore, Thailand, Taiwan, New Zealand, Brunei, and Vietnam plus Taiwan.

The milder Level 2 advisory requests that citizens avoid nonessential trips.

Japan also added Myanmar and Jordan to a list of 152 countries and regions under Level 3 travel advisories.

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