Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike urged citizens to halt all non-essential outings as she warned that the city is at grave risk if it cannot prevent an explosive spread of COVID-19, according to NHK.
Koike suggested that people stop visiting the iconic cherry blossoms until next year, as the current pace of roughly 40 new infections for three straight days has reaffirmed that the nation's capital is on the brink of a surge in cases.
Meanwhile, residents are already beginning to panic, as empty store shelves have begun to make an appearance.
The Governor has called on residents to share a sense of crisis and act responsibly - noting that Tokyo will work with neighboring prefectures to halt the spread of the disease, according to NHK.
The governor said "non-essential outings" refers to outings that can be delayed. They exclude hospital visits by people with chronic ailments and shopping at supermarkets or convenience stores to buy necessities.
She asked residents to make their own decisions on whether they must go out.
Many people gather at parks and other outdoor locations to enjoy cherry-blossom viewing around this time of year. -NHK
Japan has largely avoided the impact of COVID-19 felt by other nations, with just under 1,400 cases and 47 deaths as of this writing.