Central Japan Railway Co. said Friday about 9,500 employees will take several days off in the period between Jan. 25 and the end of February, as travel demand has declined amid a resurgence of coronavirus infections.

The railway company, which operates shinkansen connecting Tokyo and Osaka, decided to introduce such a measure for the first time since its founding in 1987 following the privatization of the state-owned Japanese National Railways.

During the period, the railway operator plans to allow about 400 employees per day to take paid leave. The program, which is also aimed at preventing the virus from spreading among employees, will cover train drivers, conductors, mechanics and station staff, it said.

The government on Wednesday expanded a state of emergency over the virus pandemic to seven prefectures including Aichi, where the railway operator is headquartered, after issuing it last week to cover Tokyo, Chiba, Kanagawa and Saitama.

Following the emergency declaration, the railway company started reviewing its initial operation plan, expecting the number of train passengers to further decrease.

The company said it has decided to cancel 1,546 bullet train services on the Tokaido Shinkansen line between next Monday and Feb. 28.