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Facing a worried nation on the brink of a potential dramatic spike in novel coronavirus patients, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Tuesday pleaded with residents to stay home to protect their lives to counter what he called “the biggest crisis since World War II.”

Abe’s news conference followed the official declaration of a state of emergency earlier in the day. The declaration, which became effective the same day and will continue until at least May 6, the end of the Golden Week holiday, covers Tokyo and Osaka, as well as Saitama, Kanagawa, Chiba, Hyogo and Fukuoka prefectures.

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