Health minister Katsunobu Kato said Friday that his ministry will begin as early as August a study on aftereffects COVID-19 patients may continue to suffer even after they have recovered enough to leave hospitals.

There have been reports of patients who were administered with oxygen due to deterioration in respiratory functions after they had tested negative for the coronavirus and left hospitals, according to the ministry.

The study will cover 1,000 adult patients whose symptoms were so severe that they were given oxygen while hospitalized. They will have their lung functions examined and CT scans of the chest, for example, ministry officials said.

Patients who had mild symptoms will be surveyed about problems they may have had after leaving hospitals. Blood samples will be taken when necessary for analysis, the officials said.

The ministry aims to improve therapies for patients with remaining symptoms by examining common factors among them, the officials said.

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