| 22 February 2024, Thursday |

Japan set to extend COVID curbs as hospitals battle infections

In response to the high number of hospital patients infected with the Omicron strain of COVID-19, Japan prepared to extend infection controls in some areas on Wednesday.

According to Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno, the central government has received requests from five prefectures, including Osaka and Kyoto in western Japan, to extend measures that are supposed to expire on Sunday.

Ten prefectures, including Tokyo, the capital, are set to seek a two- to three-week extension for the restraints, which include shortened business hours and restrictions on the sale of alcohol, according to media reports.

Later on Wednesday, a panel of health specialists will gather to discuss the progress of the coronavirus fight.

Despite the fact that new cases are down from last month’s high, hospitals are nevertheless dealing with a surge of patients with serious symptoms.

According to a calculation by national broadcaster NHK, February was the bloodiest month with 4,856 deaths. The majority of the cases were elderly people who had been left vulnerable due to a sluggish vaccine booster campaign that had only reached a fifth of the population.

  • Reuters