August 4 2021
TOKYO- Experts have warned of risks of not hospitalizing moderately ill COVID-19 patients to keep them at home as planned under a new policy announced by the government Monday.
The policy, aimed at preventing hospital bed shortages, met criticism and raised the public’s worries, prompting health minister Norihisa Tamura to suggest on Wednesday the possibility of reviewing the policy.
The previous policy stipulated that patients with moderate symptoms be hospitalized. But under the new policy, hospitalization would be limited basically to patients who are very ill or have risks of developing severe symptoms in Tokyo and other areas where new infection cases are surging.
According to the health ministry’s guidelines, moderately ill COVID-19 patients are divided into the Moderate I and II groups.
Moderate I patients have a short breath and show signs of pneumonia, while Moderate II patients suffer severer symptoms and need oxygen administration. The new policy would keep Moderate I patients at home.