• Kyodo


The health ministry said Monday it has urged local governments to prepare their hospitals for an influx of people infected with the new coronavirus, and has provided metrics that can be used to calculate the numbers expected at the outbreak’s peak.

Using the metrics and government demographic estimates as of October 2018, Tokyo is estimated to see 45,400 outpatients and 20,500 inpatients per day, of whom 700 will be in a severe condition.

Hokkaido, where the largest number of infections has been reported in the country, is estimated to be seeing 18,300 outpatients and 10,200 inpatients daily, of whom about 340 are in a severe condition.

The ministry, which urged municipalities to boost preparedness at hospitals in a letter dated Friday, explained that the number of patients would reach its peak about three months after the pneumonia-causing virus started spreading in local communities.

As the number of people infected with the virus has varied between prefectures so far, each local government must estimate its own peak and prepare for it, the ministry said. The ministry has also asked local governments to decide which medical institutions will deal with those who need to be hospitalized, receive intensive care or be put on a respirator. The municipalities have been asked to prepare the necessary medical equipment and supplies.

As of Monday, there were nearly 1,200 people infected with the new coronavirus in Japan, with around 700 of those having first been tested while aboard a cruise ship.

Kanagawa Gov. Yuji Kuroiwa said Monday that a person infected with the new coronavirus had died Sunday, without disclosing the sex or age of the person at the family’s request. He also refrained from disclosing whether the person had suffered from pneumonia or pre-existing illnesses.

Local governments in Hokkaido announced Monday that seven more people were confirmed as infected, bringing the total infections in the prefecture to 108.

The Chiba Prefectural Government said a man in his 40s had tested positive, and Japan Airlines Co. said a cabin crew member in her 50s who lives in the prefecture had been found to be infected. The company said it had instructed 12 other cabin crew members who had traveled with her in late February to stay home.

The Nara Prefectural Government announced that a man in his 30s and his preschool-age daughter were found to be infected. The man, who works for an event organizing company, visited the Soap Opera Classics Umeda club in Kita Ward, Osaka, in late February and came into contact with several people who were later confirmed as infected.

The Niigata Municipal Government said a female worker at a nursery school in her 50s and a company employee in his 40s had both tested positive.

The nursery school where the woman works will be closed from Tuesday to March 16. The two played table tennis at different gymnasiums in the city in February with a woman in her 60s who had previously been identified as infected.

The Kyoto Prefectural Government said three people in the prefecture had tested positive. They are parents of a care worker who was identified as infected on Saturday, and a nurse who works with her at Fukuchiyama City Hospital.

The hospital said Saturday that it would conduct virus tests on 165 people who had been in close contact with the care worker. The hospital has closed the area where she worked and stopped accepting outpatients and emergency cases until March 17.

The Kobe Municipal Government said a temporary worker at the Hyogo Ward Office was found to be infected and that the office was closed Monday.

The Ishikawa Prefectural Government said a man in his 70s had tested positive.

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