Japan Medical Systems to Remain Tough toward Year-End: Expert

Society Lifestyle

Tokyo, Dec. 5 (Jiji Press)--Medical systems in Japan are expected to remain in a tough situation toward year-end, with occupancy rates for hospital beds for novel coronavirus patients rising in many areas of the country, an expert has warned.

According to a health ministry survey, the hospital bed occupancy rate for COVID-19 patients stood at 25 pct or higher in 18 of the country's 47 prefectures as of Wednesday. The result suggests that the coronavirus situations in the 18 prefectures, mainly in the Tokyo metropolitan area and the Kansai western region including Osaka Prefecture, have entered Stage 3, the second-worst level on the four-tier scale gauging the degree of the spread of the virus.

The rate rose from a week before in 28 prefectures. The rate jumped by over 10 percentage points from Nov. 25 in the eastern prefectures of Tochigi and Gunma, and the central prefectures of Gifu and Mie, coming to 39 pct, 43 pct, 32 pct 50 pct, respectively.

Hyogo, western Japan, had the highest rate among all prefectures, at 65 pct, although the figure was down 3 points. The rate in Osaka, which has issued its own state-of-emergency declaration over the virus, rose by one point to 56 pct. The rate rose 5 points to 52 pct in the northernmost prefecture of Hokkaido, where large-scale infection clusters have occurred.

The number of seriously ill COVID-19 patients across Japan hit a record high of 505 as of Friday, roughly tripling from a month before. The bed occupancy rate for patients in severe condition increased from a week before in 21 prefectures. Aichi saw its rate surge by 20 points to 43 pct.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

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