New cases are soaring, hospital beds are filling up and the coronavirus outbreak in Japan continues to worsen, but the intended impact of Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga’s controversial attempt to alleviate pressure on the country’s health care system has yet to materialize.

Suga announced earlier this month that, in principle, more COVID-19 patients with mild or in some cases moderate symptoms will be asked to recover at home to streamline the hospitalization of those with severely ill symptoms or pre-existing conditions.

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