An expert panel advising Japan's health ministry has warned that if the coronavirus outbreak continues to spread, medical and public health systems could be dealt a serious blow.
The panel said on Tuesday that cases are surging mainly in Hokkaido and metropolitan areas in and around Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya.
The experts said hospitalizations and serious cases are on the rise, forcing hospitals to limit some surgeries and emergency services.
They also said it is becoming more difficult to treat coronavirus patients and provide regular medical services at the same time, warning that patients who would normally be saved, might not survive.
The panel urged central and local governments to implement a plan proposed by another government advisory panel on Friday. It contains a number of measures to control the coronavirus.
The proposals include reviewing government campaigns to boost tourism and restaurant industries, asking the hospitality sector to shorten business hours and urging people not to make nonessential outings.
The health ministry panel said regions where medical services are on the verge of collapsing, including some parts of Hokkaido, should implement tougher measures to reduce contacts between people.