Tokyo News: Japan seeks 10,000 medical staff for the Olympics while Covid-19 hospital waiting list grows

Tokyo News: Japan seeks 10,000 medical staff for the Olympics while Covid-19 hospital waiting list grows

Kanako Mita and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

The coronavirus (Covid-19) crisis in Japan is at a critical juncture based on increasing deaths and the health care system being unable to cater to all patients. Indeed, the waiting list of 15,000 people with coronavirus in areas covered by the State of Emergency is testimony to the growing crisis.

However, despite approximately 200 people dying at home because of failings in the disjointed health care system, the government of Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga seeks 10,000 medical personnel for the Olympics. Of course, with the Tokyo coronavirus waiting list being high, the Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike is equally distracted by the Olympics. Therefore, it appears that the political elites are more interested in the economic angle and international prestige rather than their own citizens.

NHK polls indicate that the majority of people in Japan think it is inappropriate to hold the Olympics. This is based on the longevity of the coronavirus, the increasing number of deaths, spiraling costs of the Olympics, more international coronavirus variants that are more infectious, and the need for politicians to prioritize important issues related to the health care system and other important factors.

Naturally, with Japan’s health care system being overstretched already in major cities, foreign nationals wishing to visit the Olympics face a daunting reality. Toshio Nakagawa, the president of the Japan Medical Association, reiterated that it would be “impossible” to provide hospitals for any international visitor who caught coronavirus.

The current death toll from coronavirus in Japan is approximately 5,200. However, in recent months the speed of each new one thousand deaths is being reached quicker. Therefore, for the government of Japan and the Tokyo Governor what is more important – is it life and shoring up the health care system, or is it the Olympics that lasts a few weeks and economics?

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