Japan Panel Calls for Keeping Maximum Coronavirus Alert

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Tokyo, Dec. 10 (Jiji Press)--Maximum alert for the novel coronavirus should be maintained in Japan as the number of new infection cases has been staying at record-high levels, a health ministry advisory board on the epidemic said Thursday.

At the day’s meeting, the board noted signs of infections growing in the western prefectures of Hiroshima and Kochi, where a major spread of the virus had not been confirmed. “There is the possibility of the medical care system becoming overwhelmed rapidly, leading to a surge in infection cases,” it warned.

The number of newly confirmed COVID-19 cases totaled 15,911 across the country in the week to Wednesday, almost the same as the figure reported in the prior week.

Pointing out that medical services tend to be insufficient toward the end of the year, the board, chaired by Takaji Wakita, head of the National Institute of Infectious Diseases, called on people to spend the year-end and New Year holiday period calmly without holding parties or visiting to their hometowns, which could spread infections.

The board estimated the effective reproduction number, or the average number of people to whom an infected person transmits the virus, at 0.99 nationwide as of Nov. 22, close to 1.0, which indicates a spread of infection. But the figure was down slightly from 1.11 as of Nov. 16.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press