• Kyodo

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A total of 84 coronavirus patients resting at home in Japan died in the six months through June, government data showed Monday, sparking concerns about a possible increase in COVID-19 deaths at home amid strain on the country’s medical system.

The data showed nearly half the patients died several days after their infections were reported to the health ministry, a sign that their conditions suddenly deteriorated.

The data comes as the number of COVID-19 patients at home is feared to rise further, with the number topping 45,000 last week, up about 26,000 from a week earlier.

The pace of increase has been accelerating due to the spread of the virus’s highly contagious Delta variant, first detected in India.

Of the 84 patients, 36 died within nine days of their infection being reported to the health ministry by local medical institutions. Eleven died within 10 to 19 days.

Four died after 20 days or later, with the longest case being 30 days. Nine had died at the time of reporting, while the dates of death for 24 patients were unknown.

Older patients accounted for over 80% of the 84 cases, with 36 being in their 80s or older, followed by 24 in their 70s and 11 in their 60s.

Seven were in their 50s, one was in their 40s, three were in their 30s and one was in their 20s. The age of one patient was unknown.

Separate data showed that new coronavirus infection cases in Japan totaled 12,073 on Monday, up 43.8% from a week earlier.

Of the total, Tokyo reported 2,884 cases, the highest level on record for a Monday.

Daily tallies in the country are being watched closely, as Suga said earlier that the COVID-19 situation will be considered when deciding whether Japan can hold the Paralympics, slated to start Aug. 24, with spectators.

Suga said Monday that vaccinations and refraining from nonessential outings were key to preventing the spread of the virus.

The cumulative total of vaccine doses administered in the country has topped 100 million, he said at a news conference in Nagasaki on Monday.

“With the Bon holidays starting this week amid the continuing spread of a highly contagious (COVID-19) variant, now is an extremely important period” to curb infections, the prime minister said.

He was referring to the major summer vacation season in Japan when many people return to their hometowns or travel elsewhere.

Suga called on younger people to refrain from traveling during the period, saying about 70% of new COVID-19 patients in Tokyo were in their 30s or younger.

The government will continue providing information targeting them via YouTube and Twitter, he said.

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