National

110 ex-nurses return to work in Japan as virus batters health sector

Jiji

In response to a call by the Japanese Nursing Association amid the COVID-19 epidemic, 110 former nurses had agreed as of Monday to return to work, the association’s head, Toshiko Fukui, revealed Wednesday.

Of the 110, 47 have started work at COVID-19 telephone counseling centers, 30 at accommodation facilities where mildly ill patients are staying, and eight at clinics or hospitals.

The association issued the request to about 50,000 former nurses by email on April 8, a day after the government declared a state of emergency over COVID-19 in Tokyo and six other prefectures.

The association is also asking the health ministry to pay hazard allowances to nurses who have had contact with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 patients.

“The pay levels for nursing staff are not high, although they work night shifts,” Fukui told an online news conference on Wednesday.

“Moreover, they face infection risks, so we hope that hazard allowances will be introduced for them,” she stressed.

Fukui also called for financial aid for nurses who are staying at hotels due to the risk of transmitting the virus to family members at home.

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