Yasutoshi Nishimura, the minister in charge of Japan’s coronavirus response, has cautioned the nation that a state of emergency may have to be imposed if further spread of the virus is not contained, saying the next three weeks will be “crucial” to prevent taking such strong measures.

“(Declaring) a state of emergency will come into view” if the spread is not contained in three weeks, he told a news conference Wednesday night following a meeting with a government panel of experts.

The panel recommended that people not travel to and from areas that have experienced a rapid increase of infections.