the health system will “collapse” as cases grow
Doctors in Japan warn that the country’s medical system may collapse amid a wave of new cases of coronavirus.
According to officials, the emergency departments cannot treat some patients with serious illnesses due to the additional workload caused by the virus.
One ambulance with a patient with coronavirus symptoms was rejected by 80 hospitals before they could see it.
In Japan, which was initially controlled by the virus, 10,000 confirmed cases passed on Saturday.
Over 200 people have already died from Covid-19, and the capital of Tokyo remains the worst affected area.
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According to officials, groups of city general practitioners are helping hospitals test potential patients with coronavirus to relieve some of the burden on the healthcare system.
“This is to prevent the destruction of the medical system,” Konoshen Tamura, deputy head of the General Practitioners Syndicate, told Reuters.
“Everyone should lend a hand. Otherwise, the hospitals will be broken.”
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Japan’s response to the virus
Analysis by Michael Priestow, BBC World Service Asia editor
This is a serious warning.
Two medical societies said that coronavirus outbreaks reduce the ability of Japanese hospitals to treat other serious emergencies.
Hospitals already reject patients, however, although the number of confirmed cases of Covid-19 is still relatively low compared to other countries.
Doctors complained about a lack of protective equipment, which indicates that Japan is not prepared for this virus. This is despite the fact that it is the second country outside China, which recorded the infection in January.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has been criticized for not imposing restrictions on fighting an earlier outbreak, for fear of harming the economy.
His government had argued with the governor of Tokyo, who wanted to implement stricter measures faster.
Only on Thursday, Mr. Abe extended the state of emergency across the country.
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The government is also working to increase test speed by introducing end-to-end transmission facilities. In recent weeks, fewer tests have been done in Japan compared to other countries, and experts say this has made tracking the disease spread more difficult.
According to Oxford University, last month, only 16% of the number of PCR tests conducted in South Korea were performed.
Unlike South Korea, which largely controlled the outbreak through a large-scale testing program, the government of Japan said conducting large-scale testing was a “waste of resources.”
The test is also organized by local medical centers and not at the national government level – and some of these local centers are not equipped for large-scale testing.
But on Friday, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe indicated that the government was changing its policy of testing and expanding it.
His comments appeared shortly after the state of emergency was declared across the country because of the worsening situation.
The move allowed regional governments to persuade people to stay inside, but without punitive measures or legal force. It will be valid until May 6.
After the initial emergency entered into force on April 8, a number of other regional governors called for measures to be expanded to include their regions, saying that the number of cases was increasing and that their medical facilities were overburdened.
Two Japanese emergency care societies also issued a joint statement warning that they “already feel the collapse of the emergency care system”.
In other global developments:
The Singapore Ministry of Health confirmed 942 new infections with coronavirus on Saturday, a new daily record. Singapore has praised the management of the outbreak, but cases have increased in recent times
The World Health Organization (WHO) encourages countries to target