No hospital to treat over 6,000 coronavirus patients in Tokyo
London, Jan. 14, 2021 (AltAfrica)-The number of people in Tokyo who were unable to find hospitals or other facilities for treatment after testing positive for the novel coronavirus totaled more than 6,000 as of Saturday, a health ministry panel of experts said Wednesday.
The figure had almost doubled from a week before, according to the panel. In more and more areas where infections are surging, local authorities are struggling to get coronavirus patients into hospitals or other facilities, the panel said, adding that it is increasingly difficult to balance the treatment of coronavirus patients with patients with other diseases or injuries.
The daily number of new coronavirus cases across Japan has been increasing rapidly since late last year, due mainly to a spike in and around Tokyo, and is expected to continue hitting record highs, it said. New cases have also been on the rise in the central Chukyo region centered around Aichi Prefecture, as well as Kansai and Kyushu since the beginning of this year, it noted.
The government put Tokyo and the neighboring prefectures of Saitama, Chiba and Kanagawa, where the virus is spreading rapidly, under a fresh state of emergency over the novel coronavirus on Friday.
The coronavirus spread in Tokyo and other metropolitan areas late last year mainly through corporate and other year-end parties and gatherings involving eating and drinking among young people, the panel said, expressing concerns over a possible further increase in infections among older people. One possible factor behind the nationwide surge in infections after the turn of the year was people making trips to their hometowns and dining with relatives during the year-end and New Year’s holiday period, it said.
The effective reproduction number, or the average number of people to whom an infected person transmits the virus, was estimated at 1.14 nationwide as of Dec. 27 last year. A reading of over 1.0 indicates a spread of infection.
The figure stood at an estimated 1.09 each in Tokyo and Kanagawa, 1.06 in Saitama and 1.23 in Chiba.
The government decided Wednesday to expand the ongoing coronavirus state of emergency to include seven more prefectures — Osaka, Kyoto, Hyogo, Tochigi, Aichi, Gifu and Fukuoka.
Besides Tokyo, Saitama, Chiba and Kanagawa, some prefectures seem to require measures necessary under Stage 4, the worst level on the four-tier gauge for the spread of the novel coronavirus, Yasutoshi Nishimura, who leads the government’s efforts to contain the health crisis, told a meeting of the Committee on Cabinet of the House of Representatives, the lower chamber of the Diet, Japan’s parliament, on Wednesday. Stage 4 suggests an explosive spread of the virus.
The Tokyo-area state of emergency is slated to run until Feb. 7. The seven other prefectures are expected to remain under the coronavirus emergency until the same day.