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Tokyo reports 3,709 daily coronavirus cases amid ongoing resurgence

3 August 2021 16:55
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Tokyo reports 3,709 daily coronavirus cases amid ongoing resurgence

TOKYO. KAZINFORM - The Tokyo metropolitan government confirmed 3,709 daily coronavirus cases Tuesday, with growing concern about hospital bed shortages prompting Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga the previous day to decide that only critically ill patients should be hospitalized, Kyodo reports.

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New COVID-19 cases in Tokyo, where the Olympics are being held, had dipped slightly to 2,195 the previous day after topping 3,000 for five consecutive days through Sunday.

The capital's seven-day rolling average of cases has risen to a record 3,337.4 per day, up 89.3 percent from the previous week.

Three weeks have passed since the central government placed Tokyo under a fourth state of emergency from July 12. But the measure, which mostly relies on a cooperative public and not a hard lockdown as some countries have, has had little effect in slowing infections.

Although foot traffic in downtown areas has decreased slightly, the surge in infections comes amid the spread of the highly contagious Delta variant of the coronavirus.

In a policy U-turn, the central government decided Monday that only patients with severe cases of COVID-19 can be admitted to hospital. It had previously said that all patients except for those with mild coughing symptoms should be hospitalized in principle.

COVID-19 patients with breathing problems or pneumonia could now be asked to recuperate at home.

But some doctors, concerned that the sudden change of policy will result in increased deaths at home, criticized the decision as irresponsible.

Tomo Kimura, a doctor involved in home medical care in the Tokyo metropolitan area, said it is difficult for clinics to observe patients remotely in real time as not many have the equipment or manpower to do so.

«The government had plenty of time to take countermeasures, such as preparing new treatment facilities, but it failed to do so. I want to think about what I can do as a doctor, but it is irresponsible to suddenly throw it on to the medical field,» he said.

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