Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Friday evening pressed for cooperation from all citizens in the fight against the spreading coronavirus following his decision to expand the state of emergency nationwide.

In the news conference from the Prime Minister’s Office, Abe again emphasized his push to slash human-to-human contact by 70 percent to 80 percent, saying the move is necessary to avoid overwhelming the health care system.

“The situation is very dire,” Abe said. “I ask everyone again. Please refrain from going outside. Please avoid having contact with people as much as possible. That will protect the medical care system and thus save many lives. ... We’ll overcome this together with you all.”