FOCUS: Japan Medical System on Brink amid COVID-19 Explosion

Society Lifestyle

Tokyo, Feb. 4 (Jiji Press)--Japan's medical system is on the brink amid an explosion in novel coronavirus infections, with the daily count of new COVID-19 cases in the country topping 100,000 for the first time on Thursday.

An increasing number of medical workers are being kept from the front lines due to getting infected with the virus or being designated as close contacts of coronavirus carriers, putting further strain on medical services. Some hospitals have stopped accepting emergency patients altogether.

Workers on the ground say that "the situation is getting worse by the minute," and that they are on the edge psychologically.

According to Japan's Fire and Disaster Management Agency, there were 5,303 cases in the week to last Sunday in which ambulances struggled to find hospitals to accept patients, a record high and around 1.6 times more than the peak level seen during the fifth wave of COVID-19 infections last summer.

Japanese Red Cross Omori Hospital in Tokyo's Ota Ward has reduced the number of hospital beds for general patients by around 100 to expand its intake of coronavirus patients. The hospital previously accepted around 20 emergency patients per day. But its intake of emergency patients was limited to those with serious diseases such as myocardial infarction and cerebral infarction as of Wednesday.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press