Coronavirus: overwhelmed hospitals in Tokyo, new contamination record

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TOKYO | Hospitals in Tokyo are struggling to provide routine care due to a surge in the number of coronavirus cases, local health officials warned on Thursday, as the Japanese capital hit a new record of infections.

For the first time, the megalopolis has moved to level four, the highest, on the alert scale for the availability of its medical services.

“It has become difficult to provide both routine care and that of patients infected with the coronavirus, due to the increase in the number of hospitalizations,” Masataka Inokuchi, vice president of the Medical Association, said Thursday. from Tokyo.

The governor of the capital, Yuriko Koike, called on residents to “continue to avoid unnecessary outings”.

While avoiding mandatory restrictions, Japan has been relatively spared since the start of the pandemic, with some 187,000 infections and 2,700 deaths nationwide, relatively low statistics compared to many other countries.

But the number of daily COVID-19 infections has been rising sharply since November. Tokyo broke a new record on Thursday with 822 new cases, up from 500-600 a day in recent weeks.

The other alert scale for the Japanese capital, relating to the level of infections, has already been at its maximum level since last month.

Under pressure from the worsening health situation, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga this week called on residents of the country to reconsider their travel plans over the holiday season, and suspended a controversial national tourism program subsidized.

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