Omicron Likely Accounts for 46 Pct of Japan Coronavirus Cases

Society Lifestyle

Tokyo, Jan. 7 (Jiji Press)--Suspected omicron coronavirus cases are estimated to have accounted for 46 pct of new COVID-19 infections in Japan in the week to Sunday, a health ministry advisory board has said.

The panel of experts showed the estimate at its meeting Thursday.

Members of the advisory board agreed that the number of coronavirus carriers hospitalized or isolating at their homes or other places and that of severely ill COVID-19 patients are on the rise amid a recent surge in new cases.

The board warned of a possible rapid spread of the highly transmissible omicron variant of the novel coronavirus, noting that flows of people and contact opportunities increased during the year-end and New Year holiday period. "We need to keep in mind the possibility of the medical care system becoming strained," it said.

The ministry analyzed the results of COVID-19 polymerase chain reaction tests conducted on some 2,100 people who were found positive for the virus in the week to Sunday. The proportion of suspected omicron cases came to 73 pct in Okinawa Prefecture, southernmost Japan, where the coronavirus is raging, 75 pct in the western prefecture of Hiroshima, 71 pct in Yamaguchi Prefecture, also western Japan, and 34 pct in Tokyo.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press