The daily number of new COVID-19 cases in Japan reached 3,608 on Tuesday, rising above the 3,000 mark for the first time in three days. In Tokyo, the daily count of new infections stood at 856, the fourth-highest figure yet, and more than 50% above the the capital’s previous Tuesday high of 563, set last week.
While Japan has entered the year-end holiday period, medical workers continue to devote all their energy to coping with the surge, eschewing breaks as the medical system nears the verge of collapse. “I’m weary and worn out, but we have to get through this,” said one public health center worker.
More than 15% of hospitals have seen nurses and assistant nurses quit, given changes in their work environment and the risk of COVID-19 infection, according to a survey. The ratio was 21.3% for medical institutions that accept patients suspected of being infected with the virus.
Nearly 45% of hospitals that also offer advanced medical procedures, such as for cancer, have had difficulties providing patients with treatment they need, a Kyodo survey has found, with some postponing surgeries for non-COVID-19 patients or limited acceptance of emergency patients.
While the rollout of vaccinations in Japan is still months away, the U.S. military began giving its first COVID-19 vaccinations at Tokyo’s Yokota base on Monday. Japan’s health ministry laid out its vaccination plan Friday, saying that people aged 65 or older will be the second group to get shots after medical and other front-line workers, with the third stage going to people with 14 types of underlying health conditions.
Tuesday’s (and Monday’s) new COVID-19 cases by prefecture (20 or over): Tokyo 856 (481), Kanagawa 395 (334), Osaka 302 (150), Saitama 300 (184), Aichi 235 (122), Chiba 216 (175), Hyogo 193 (104), Fukuoka 151 (142), Hiroshima 88 (50), Hokkaido 87 (94), Kyoto 84 (59), Tochigi 83 (31), Gifu 74 (45), Kumamoto 55 (37), Ibaraki 43 (31), Okinawa 40 (21), Miyagi 39 (28), Nara 24 (30), Gunma 29 (21), Nagasaki 27 (18), Shizuoka 27 (12), Shiga 26 (14), Yamaguchi 24 (11), Okayama 23 (19). Source: Japan COVID-19 Coronavirus Tracker