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Japan has 1,084 COVID-19 patients with severe symptoms, the health ministry said Monday, hitting an all-time high for the second straight day and stoking fears of further strains on health care systems.

As highly contagious variants of the virus rage in western Japan, the 17,689 COVID-19 patients being treated at hospitals in Osaka represents a 2.8-fold increase compared to Jan. 20, when hospital bed availability was previously at its tightest.

The government said Monday it has decided to set up a mass vaccination center at the Osaka International Convention Center as the country seeks to speed up its COVID-19 vaccination campaign.

The Osaka International Convention Center has been selected as a site for a government-run mass vaccination facility as the country seeks to speed up its COVID-19 vaccination campaign. | KYODO
The Osaka International Convention Center has been selected as a site for a government-run mass vaccination facility as the country seeks to speed up its COVID-19 vaccination campaign. | KYODO

Meanwhile, the pace of anaphylaxis cases related to vaccinations has been falling, health ministry data shows. As of April 22, there were 37 cases of the severe allergic reaction per million vaccinations, compared with 46 cases as of April 18.

As for the economic fallout, experts expect Japan’s GDP to shrink by 1.3% this quarter, or an annualized 5.1%, partly due to the third state of emergency. To cushion the blow, the government said Friday it will raise the amount of “cooperation money” paid to firms that have closed large facilities during the emergency.

Yesterday’s (and last Monday’s) new COVID-19 cases by prefecture (100 or more): Osaka 846 (924), Tokyo 708 (425), Hyogo 344 (310), Aichi 304 (161), Fukuoka 285 (154), Kanagawa 222 (160), Saitama 198 (109), Chiba 148 (90), Kyoto 121 (119), Hokkaido 114 (139), Okayama 109 (38). Source: Japan COVID-19 Coronavirus Tracker

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