Japan to eliminate Covid-specific hospital beds within a year

TOKYO, Feb 23 (AsiaNews) - Hospital beds will no longer be reserved exclusively for COVID-19 patients within a year after the disease’s status is lowered to the same level as seasonal flu, it has been learned.

On May 8, COVID-19 will be reclassified from its current “equivalent to Category II” to “Category V” under the Infectious Diseases Control Law. According to the government’s plan, the medical care system will be gradually normalized during the transition period for the new ranking.

Hospital beds specifically for COVID-19 patients will continue to exist for a while after the downgrade but will be abolished within a year.

Once COVID-specific beds are discontinued, all hospitals in the country will accept COVID-19 patients. The government hopes to increase the number of medical institutions providing outpatient care to about 64,000, or about 50% above the current level.

Category V does not require a special medical system, such as the one currently in place, or public funding of medical expenses. However, to avoid confusion, the government plans to gradually shift to a medical system similar to that for seasonal influenza during a transition period of about one year. ...continue reading