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Japan to monitor virus cases, hospitals before any emergency declaration decision

FILE PHOTO: People wearing protective masks, following the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, make their way at Shinagawa station in Tokyo, Japan November 13, 2020. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan will not immediately declare a health emergency following a record rise in coronavirus cases, and will continue to monitor infection rates and the capacity of hospitals to cope, the government’s chief spokesman said on Thursday.

“We will respond appropriately based on conditions,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato told a regular press briefing.

Coronavirus infections in Japan hit a record daily high of 2,201 cases on Wednesday, public broadcaster NHK reported. Almost a quarter of those were in Tokyo, which is expected to raise its pandemic alert level on Thursday, according to local media reports.

Reporting by Tim Kelly; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman