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Japan experts decline to raise alert, as virus 'not yet prevalent'

But health ministry prepares for surge in cases

Takaji Wakita, chief of the National Institute of Infectious Diseases, right, and Health Minister Katsunobu Kato, at a press conference.   © Reuters

TOKYO -- The coronavirus outbreak remains at an initial stage in Japan, an expert panel under the health ministry said Sunday, choosing not to raise the country's alert level to allow for a more aggressive response.

"The government is still able to track down infection routes to a certain degree," said Takaji Wakita, chief of the National Institute of Infectious Diseases.

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