A surge in coronavirus cases in Japan is forcing exhausted medical workers to make “heartbreaking” decisions about treatment as healthcare services are close to being overwhelmed, medics have said.
In Osaka, at the centre of the country’s fourth wave of infections, hospital beds are almost at capacity and reports say an estimated 17,000 people with virus symptoms are being treated at home or waiting to be admitted to a medical facility. In recent weeks more than a dozen have died before they could be hospitalised.
There are fears the deepening crisis in the western prefecture could be repeated elsewhere in the country, including in Tokyo, which is due to host the summer Olympics in 10 weeks’ time. The last state of emergency was lifted in Osaka a week earlier than in the Tokyo region, where variants are accounting for a rising proportion of new infections.