Medical experts have warned that hospitals in the most severely hit regions of Japan are on the verge of collapse. The country has been struggling to contain a third wave of COVID-19 infections that has made a record number of people seriously ill.
Infections Have Doubled Recently
On Monday, the Asian nation reported over 4,900 new infections. Serious cases have also risen to record high of 973, according to local media.
Japan has been largely untouched by the huge death tolls and caseloads witnessed by other countries, but infections have doubled over the past six weeks to 338,000, with 4,623 deaths, as revealed by the public broadcaster NHK.
This recent spike, coupled with the discovery of the first recorded community transmissions of a fast-spreading strain of Covid-19 initially identified in Britain has healed pressure on the Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga. He’s been urged to act decisively to protect medical services which are currently overstretched.
Exhausting All Measures
Suga has responded, saying in a policy statement that: “What is important is to provide necessary services to people in need. We will exhaust all measures to safeguard the medical system.” He also added that the government was prepared to send military medical teams to regions straining against an influx of COVID-19 patients.
The Japanese prime minister’s handling of the pandemic has resulted in his approval rating taking a plunge. He declared a month-long state of emergency in the Tokyo area that was quickly expanded to cover half the country’s 126 million people.
However, Suga’s advisers have warned that these measures which include ordering the early closure of restaurants and bars and also urging people to avoid nonessential outings are not likely to have much effect.
The head of the government’s subcommittee on the pandemic, Shigeru Omu, suggested that the restrictions would need to be in place for longer than a month.