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Tokyo Joto Hospital, run by the government-affiliated Japan Community Health Care Organization (JCHO), began its operations as a medical institution specializing in treating COVID-19 patients on Thursday.

It is the first time for the organization to turn an affiliated institution into a hospital dedicated to coronavirus patients.

The hospital, located in Tokyo’s Koto Ward, is one of the 57 JCHO-run hospitals in the country. JCHO is headed by Shigeru Omi, who chairs a Japanese government panel on coronavirus responses.

In August, the central and Tokyo Metropolitan governments asked medical institutions in Tokyo to secure more hospital beds for COVID-19 patients, based on the infectious disease prevention law.

Following the request, Tokyo Joto Hospital secured up to 50 beds for patients with mild to moderate symptoms.

Around 90 people who had been admitted to the hospital for health issues other than COVID-19 have already been either discharged or transferred to a different medical institution, in line with the hospital’s transition to a COVID-19-only medical facility.

The hospital will continue to accept outpatients, but on a smaller scale.

Two floors of the hospital’s building are reserved for coronavirus patients. A room that used to be a cafeteria has been turned into a place where hospital staff can monitor remotely saturated oxygen concentration levels and the pulse of patients.

The transformed medical institution was unveiled to the press a day before its relaunch as a specialty hospital.

“We’ll prepare for the sixth wave (of coronavirus infections) that is expected to arrive (in the near future),” Atsushi Chuma, head of the hospital, said.

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