New Infections Falling, But Medical System under Strain: Panel

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Tokyo, Feb. 11 (Jiji Press)--A Japanese health ministry panel of experts said Thursday that new cases of novel coronavirus infection have been on a declining trend in the country since early January.

At a meeting on the day, the advisory board on the virus crisis also showed a view that the medical care systems in Tokyo and nine other prefectures under the government's fresh state of emergency over the virus remain under strain although the number of hospitalized coronavirus patients has been decreasing.

With the proportion of people aged 60 or over in new infection cases on the rise, it will take time before the number of severely ill patients goes down, according to the panel.

"New infection cases must be reduced to ease the burden on medical institutions toward the start of coronavirus vaccinations in the nation," said the panel's chief, Takaji Wakita, head of the National Institute of Infectious Diseases.

The effective reproduction number, or the average number of people to whom an infected person transmits the virus, stood at 0.76 across Japan as of Jan. 25, down from 0.80 as of Jan. 15, according to the panel. A reading of over 1.0 indicates a spread of infection.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press