Tokyo Maintains Highest Virus Alert; Experts Express Concerns

The Tokyo metropolitan government kept its alert posture for the spread of the novel coronavirus in the capital at the highest level of its four-tiered assessment on Thursday, while the alert level for the medical care system stayed at the second-highest level.

The metropolitan government held a monitoring meeting with experts to discuss the spread of the virus in the capital.

According to the metropolitan government, the seven-day average number of new infections in Tokyo through Thursday was a record 466.4, up about 60 from the previous week. The number of people with unknown infection routes also increased, reflecting the continuously tough situation.

Meanwhile, the number of seriously ill patients decreased to 54 on Thursday from 70 marked on Nov. 30, the highest since the state of emergency was lifted in May.

Based on these factors, meeting participants concluded that the medical care system was not yet on the verge of a crisis. However, some experts expressed strong concerns that it is becoming difficult to provide ordinary medical treatments while taking care of novel coronavirus patients at the same time, because there have been negative effects on medical institutions, such as the postponement of planned surgeries.

It was reported at the meeting that the metropolitan government requested medical institutions to raise the number of beds it keeps for seriously ill patients from 150 to 200.