The number of new coronavirus infections reported in Japan topped 1,500 on Sunday, as the government strives to curb the spread of the virus through various steps, including asking people to avoid mass gatherings and implementing travel restrictions.

The tally stood at 1,528, including about 700 cases from the Diamond Princess cruise ship that was quarantined near Tokyo, after more than 30 new cases were reported Sunday by the health ministry and local authorities. A total of 31 infected people have died.

Japan has the ninth-largest number of infections in the world, behind China, Italy, Iran, South Korea, Spain, France, Germany and the United States, according to a Kyodo News tally based on information such as data released by each government.

Among the newly reported cases, two men who tested positive after arriving at Haneda airport in Tokyo had been to Italy, while a boy in the northernmost island of Hokkaido also tested positive for the virus, according to the health ministry.

In a bid to contain the outbreak and minimize its potential impact on the economy, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has requested that all schools in Japan be shut until spring break ends in early April and big sports and cultural events be canceled, postponed or scaled-down.

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