Hospitals in Nagoya, located in Japan's industrial heartland, have more coronavirus patients than they can treat, forcing transfers to nearby areas and offering a glimpse of the challenges the outbreak poses for a country with a huge elderly population.

Japan has closed schools and canceled public events, which experts say has helped prevent an explosive spread of the virus. But because testing hasn't been widespread, some medical experts say the extent of infection is understated, and a surge could yet happen.

That would put more of the country under the strain now being felt in Nagoya, and force a nationwide scramble to shift patients, many of them elderly, to hospitals in areas with capacity.