Nippon Foundation to Prepare 10,000 Beds for Coronavirus Patients
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As concerns rise about health services being overwhelmed by a rise in COVID-19 cases, on April 3 the Nippon Foundation announced that it would prepare 10,000 beds for asymptomatic cases and patients with mild symptoms.
Until now, all those who have tested positive for the coronavirus have been admitted to hospitals, as mandated by the Infectious Diseases Prevention Act. But the need to secure beds for patients with serious symptoms is becoming an issue. On April 1, a government panel of experts called for drastic measures, saying that medical systems in the prefectures of Tokyo, Kanagawa, Aichi, Osaka, and Hyōgo were on the verge of crisis. Then, on April 3, Minister of Health, Labor, and Welfare Katō Katsunobu said that patients with no or mild symptoms should recuperate at home or in their present accommodation.
The Nippon Foundation says it can prepare 1,200 beds at the Museum of Maritime Science in Odaiba and the Nippon Foundation Paralympic Support Center by the end of April. Then, it will put in place a further 9,000 beds at the former site of a research institute in Tsukuba, Ibaraki Prefecture, by the end of July. The facilities will deploy large, solid tents, and doctors and nurses will be stationed there.
While making preparations, the Nippon Foundation will consult with the Tokyo Metropolitan Government and the Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare as to how best to use the newly provided facilities. The foundation plans to cover all the costs of construction, stationing medical staff, and providing meals for the people who use the facilities. Nippon Foundation Chairman Sasakawa Yōhei says his greatest hope is that the facilities will not be needed, but that it is important to be prepared.
(Translated from Japanese. Banner photo © Jiji.)