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Tokyo gov't declares start of flu season in capital 11 weeks earlier than last year

The Tokyo Metropolitan Government building is seen in March 2019. (Mainichi/Masaaki Shimano)

TOKYO -- The Tokyo Metropolitan Government announced on Sept. 26 that the influenza season has officially begun in the capital.

The start of the flu season comes 11 weeks earlier than last year. Citizens are being advised to take precautions as the numbers of flu patients usually reach their peak five to 10 weeks after the flu season sets in.

The metropolitan government receives reports on the number of flu patients from 419 medical facilities in Tokyo. The average number of flu patients per facility from Sept. 16 to 22 was 1.06 -- exceeding the standard average for the start of the flu season at 1.0.

A total of 34 kindergartens and elementary, junior and senior high schools in Tokyo have temporarily suspended classes due to influenza outbreaks since Sept. 2. This is a sharp increase compared to the same period last year, when just eight such institutions had closed temporarily.

The metropolitan government is advising people to wash their hands often and cover their mouths when they cough or sneeze, such as by wearing masks.

(Japanese original by Koichi Uchida, City News Department)

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