TOKYO – A day before declaring a state of emergency, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced during a meeting at the Prime Minister’s Office that the government will strengthen its preventive measures against the spread of the new coronavirus (COVID-19), and create medical treatment framework to tackle the pandemic.
“We must prioritize efforts to prevent the spread of infections and to build medical treatment structures, while preparing for a further worsening of the situation,” he said.
The steps include doubling the capacity of polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test to check for COVID-19 infection to 20,000 individuals per day.
Other measures are increasing the number of hospital beds from 28,000 to 50,000, and securing 15,000 ventilators and expanding its production.
“We will urgently set up medical treatment structures focused on providing medical care for patients with severe symptoms, in preparation for the sudden surge of patients.”
Abe said the Japanese government will make arrangements with private hotels and refurbish pre-fab facilities, which were set up for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games, to accommodate patients.
“In cases the number of patients increases, we will ask patients with mild symptoms to in principle stay at home and, if there is a risk of the transmission to the patients’ family members, we will secure facilities for them to stay.”
The Japanese leader has declared a month-long state of emergency on April 7 amid rising number of COVID-19 cases in the country. - Florenda Corpuz
(Photo credit: © Cabinet Public Relations Office)