According to Japan’s health ministry, the combined total of COVID-19 patients with severe symptoms announced by local governments across Japan stood at 51 on Jan. 1. The figure climbed to 89 in a week, to 233 in two weeks and topped 400 on Friday for the first time in about three months, in line with the increase of new infection cases.
PM Kishida pledged to boost medical treatments for people recovering at home or at lodging facilities, and to accelerate booster vaccinations, noting that he plans to “calmly advance responses (against the omicron variant) based on the latest information, without excessive fear.”
“The omicron variant seems to have a higher transmissibility, but also is less likely to cause serious symptoms,” Kishida said to reporters at the Prime Minister’s Office. “But if the infection spreads rapidly among the elderly, the percentage of people who become seriously ill could increase.”
On December 24th, the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare announced the results of a survey that the number of cases of abuse of elderly people at home in 2020 increased by 2.1% from the previous year to 17,281 cases, a record high. There were 25 deaths, an increase of 10 from the previous year.
Animal therapy, designed to heal people through contacts with animals, is spreading in Japan amid the COVID-19 crisis.
A university in Tokyo has hosted a session to introduce therapy dogs to students and alleviate their loneliness attributed to the prolonged novel coronavirus crisis, while facilities for disabled people are developing environments that allow residents to live with animals.