Background: On April 7, 2020, the Japanese government declared a state of emergency regarding the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). Given the nation-wide spread of the coronavirus in major Japanese cities and the rapid increase in the number of cases with untraceable infection routes, large-scale monitoring for capturing the current epidemiological situation of COVID-19 in Japan is urgently required. Methods: A chatbot-based healthcare system named COOPERA (COvid-19: Operation for Personalized Empowerment to Render smart prevention And AN care seeking) was developed to surveil the Japanese epidemiological situation in real-time. COOPERA asked questions regarding personal information, location, preventive actions, COVID-19 related symptoms and their residence. Empirical Bayes estimates of the age-sex-standardized incidence rate and disease mapping approach using scan statistics were utilized to identify the geographical distribution of the symptoms in Tokyo and their spatial correlation r with the identified COVID-19 cases. Findings: We analyzed 353,010 participants from Tokyo recruited from 27th March to 6th April 2020. The mean (SD) age of participants was 42.7 (12.3), and 63.4%, 36.4% or 0.2% were female, male, or others, respectively. 95.6% of participants had no subjective symptoms. We identified several geographical clusters with high spatial correlation (r = 0.9), especially in downtown areas in central Tokyo such as Shibuya and Shinjuku. Interpretation: With the global spread of COVID-19, medical resources are being depleted. A new system to monitor the epidemiological situation, COOPERA, can provide insights to assist political decision to tackle the epidemic. In addition, given that Japan has not had a strong lockdown policy to weaken the spread of the infection, our result would be useful for preparing for the second wave in other countries during the next flu season without a strong lockdown. Funding: The present work was supported in part by a grant from the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare of Japan (H29-Gantaisaku-ippan-009).
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