Photo/Illutration Shimizu Corp. announces its measures against the new coronavirus outbreak on its official website. (From the official website of Shimizu Corp.)

A leading general contractor announced on April 13 that it plans to suspend work at about 500 construction sites in areas covered by the state of emergency over the new coronavirus outbreak.

It comes alongside news that an employee who contracted COVID-19 in Tokyo died.

Shimizu Corp. said the work suspension is aimed at preventing the further spread of the virus. It will be in place until May 6, the day when the state of emergency is scheduled to be lifted.

Immediately after the government issued the state of emergency on April 7, the company said it would decide whether to continue the construction work through individual consultations with each contractor.

However, Shimizu now plans to halt all the work, in principle, in Tokyo and the six other prefectures under a state of emergency.

Of the 20,000 or so workers at the construction sites in those areas, some 2,000 are employees of Shimizu, while the rest are workers of its partner companies and subcontractors, according to the company.

A Shimizu public relations official said the company will “do our best” to pay wages to workers affected by the suspension.

Shimizu also revealed that three employees who worked at the same construction site in Tokyo tested positive for the virus and one of them, a man in his 50s, died.

The company said he stayed at home after running a fever on April 3, but his condition suddenly started deteriorating on April 9. After he died, the result of his polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test came out positive for the coronavirus.

The other two employees, a man and a woman in their 40s who worked at the same construction site with him, also tested positive.

The company instructed all its employees and others who worked at the site to self-isolate in their homes from April 7.

Nishimatsu Construction Co., a second-tier general contractor, had already announced that it will suspend construction work in Tokyo and the six prefectures.