Japan reports Covid spike, medical system overwhelmed

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Tokyo, Aug 19 (IANS) Amid a resurgence, Japan recorded more than 6 million new Covid-19 cases in the past month, with more than 200 daily deaths on nine of the 11 days, which has further strained its medical system fueled by the seventh wave of the pandemic.

The country logged a record daily high of 255,534 new cases on Thursday, the second time that the number exceeded 250,000 in a single day since the pandemic hit the country in early 2020, reports Xinhua news agency.

A total of 287 people died, bringing the total fatality toll to 36,302.

Japan reported 1,395,301 cases in the week from August 8-14, the highest number of new cases in the world for the fourth week in a row, followed by South Korea and the US, local media Kyodo News reported, citing the latest weekly update of the World Health Organization (WHO).

Many local residents with mild infections are quarantined at home, while those reporting serious symptoms are struggling for hospitalization.

According to Japan’s Health Ministry, more than 1.54 million infected people nationwide were quarantined at home as of August 10, the highest number since outbreak was first reported.

Hospital bed occupancy rate is rising, said the country’s public broadcaster NHK, citing government statistics that as of Monday, the Covid bed use rate was 91 per cent in Kanagawa prefecture, 80 percent in Okinawa, Aichi and Shiga, and 70 per cent in Fukuoka, Nagasaki and Shizuoka.

The Tokyo Metropolitan government announced that its Covid-19 bed occupancy rate was about a seemingly less serious of 60 per cent. However, many local medical workers are infected or have become close contacts, resulting in a shortage of medical staff.

Despite the severity of the seventh wave and the soaring number of new cases, the Japanese government has not adopted stricter prevention measures.

The recent Obon holiday also saw a large flow of tourists — highways congested, Shinkansen bullet trains full and domestic airline occupancy rate returned to about 80 per cent of the pre-Covid level.



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