No. of Japan’s severe COVID patients hits 2,000 for 1st time
TOKYO. KAZINFORM - The number of coronavirus patients with severe symptoms rose to a record 2,000 in Japan on Thursday, the health ministry said Friday, as the country expanded its state of emergency with the medical system close to its breaking point, Kyodo reports.
The figure increased by 26 from the previous day and reached a record for the 15th consecutive day. Japan has been battling an alarming rise in daily COVID-19 infections caused by the highly contagious Delta variant.
New infections across the country totaled more than 24,000 on Friday, according to prefectural governments, with Tokyo marking 4,227. Osaka recorded 2,814, Kanagawa logged 2,662 and Aichi reported a record 2,347.
The Japanese government the same day placed eight more prefectures under its latest state of emergency over the pandemic.
The addition of Hokkaido, Miyagi, Gifu, Aichi, Mie, Shiga, Okayama and Hiroshima means that 21 of the nation's 47 prefectures are now under the state of emergency that had already covered Tokyo and Osaka among other areas.
The measure, now affecting over 75 percent of the population, will run through Sept. 12.
Under the state of emergency, restaurants are asked not to serve alcohol or offer karaoke and instructed to close by 8 p.m. Major commercial facilities, including department stores and shopping malls, are requested to limit the number of customers allowed in at the same time.
But the effectiveness of those steps has been called into question as they rely on voluntary public cooperation.
Prefectural governors have called for stricter lockdown measures, which would require a new legal framework. Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has shown reluctance to introduce such measures.