Ahead of Olympics, Japan's Osaka buckles under coronavirus fourth wave

WION Web Team
Tokyo Published: May 24, 2021, 07:31 PM(IST)

Japan's Osaka battles fourth wave of virus Photograph:( AFP )

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The coronavirus strain first found in Britain is believed to be behind this sudden rise in the number of infections, according to reports.

Ahead of the Olympics, Japans's second-largest city Osaka is battling the fourth wave of coronavirus with hospitals unable to cope with the pressure as cases have surged over the past week.

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The number of coronavirus cases has overwhelmed the health infrastructure in Osaka which currently accounts for over 25 per cent of the total death toll cases in Japan.

With the Tokyo Olympic games slated to begin in just nine weeks, the health infrastructure has almost collapsed, reports say. 

At least 96 per cent of hospital beds are occupied and the patients getting admitted this time have been exhibiting more serious symptoms than before, reports said.

With a population of over 9 million, Japan's western region has borne the brunt of infections in the deadly surge that has occurred this month.

The coronavirus strain first found in Britain is believed to be behind this sudden rise in the number of infections, according to reports.

Nearly 14 per cent of those who have tested positive in the latest wave in Osaka have required hospitalisation, however, besides hospital beds, there is also a shortage of medicines even as the hospital staff have complained that there are too few doctors and nurses managing too many patients.

However, despite the latest surge in COVID-19 cases the International Olympic Committee(IOC) has said the Olympics will go ahead with more than 80 per cent of the residents in the Olympic village to be vaccinated.

On Monday, Japan opened its mass vaccination drive in two military-run centres in Tokyo and Osaka. The country has vaccinated just two per cent of its population so far in a country of 125 million.

Reports said the Tokyo centre aims to deliver up to 10,000 jabs a day, while the Osaka centre will give up to 5,000 two-shot Moderna vaccine along with the AstraZeneca vaccine, however, the Oxford vaccine will not be immediately used due to reports of rare blood clots occurring in some patients.

The country has also been using the Pfizer vaccine. Apart from Osaka, there are at least eight other regions under virus state of emergency.

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