Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is preparing to announce a state of emergency.
The emergency declaration, to be issued as early as Tuesday, will cover seven prefectures, including Tokyo and Osaka.
"Since there are already critical situations happening at medical facilities, we are advised that we, the government should prepare for the declaration of a state of emergency."
If Abe makes the call, it would be the first time such a declaration has been issued in Japan.
Abe said the unprecedented move could remain in place for about a month.
It comes as concerns rise that Japan's public health system could collapse, under a wave of coronavirus infections in key metropolitan areas.
Tokyo is experiencing a lack of hospital beds due to the recent increase in the number of infected patients.
The declaration would help the government contain the virus, by allowing local authorities to construct temporary medical facilities by appropriating private land or private buildings.
It would also allow local governments to limit outdoor activities by urging the cancellation of events, or restricting use of certain facilities to prevent the spread of the virus.
But the Japanese government stressed there would be no lockdown like those seen in other countries.
More than 4,and-5-hundred people have tested positive for the COVID-19 in Japan, and over a thousand of them are in Tokyo.
Kim Jae-hee, Arirang News.