Japan: Expert Panel Warns of Collapse of Medical Services

The Yomiuri Shimbun – Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in a protective mask speaks at a task force meeting on Wednesday.

The Yomiuri Shimbun reports:  With the number of people infected with the new coronavirus increasing in Tokyo and four prefectures, a government panel of experts on Wednesday expressed concern over the possible collapse of medical services.

The panel to consider measures against the virus, which is chaired by Takaji Wakita, director general of the National Institute of Infectious Diseases, also called on the government to consider closing all schools at once even after the new academic term starts in alert areas where the number of infections rose sharply in the past week.

In its proposal to the government on Wednesday, the panel cited Tokyo and the four prefectures of Osaka, Kanagawa, Aichi and Hyogo and said, “Drastic measures need to be taken today or tomorrow as these areas have densely populated cities and their medical systems are becoming strained.”

In light of this, the panel called for not only designated medical institutions for infectious diseases but also local university hospitals and other medical facilities to accept patients, saying, “The utmost efforts are necessary to provide medical services in accordance with the role of each hospital.” It also pointed to the need to prepare an option for patients with mild or moderate symptoms to stay in accommodation facilities rather than at home.

The panel also urged the government to provide support for evaluating the effectiveness and safety of existing drugs and accelerate the domestic development of new vaccines.

As public fatigue over exercising self-restraint can be seen, the panel stated its concern that the sense of alert is fading more than expected among some people. On the other hand, it gave some leeway for playing outdoor sports and watching sports games in areas where no infections have been confirmed in the past week, on the assumption that appropriate measures against the virus are taken … (read more)

Source: The Japan News



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