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Japanese health care providers say they’ve seen a spike in patients needing urgent care, even though the government says there’s no evidence of a spike.
Health Minister Yoshihide Suga said on Thursday that Japan has seen a rise in patients seeking care for urgent care since early September.
Suga also said he was optimistic the government will have the answers soon about the outbreak, which has killed about 6,000 people.
“We are working with health providers and public health authorities to make arrangements to distribute medication and medical equipment to those who need them,” Suga told reporters in Tokyo.
Health officials say they suspect that the spike in emergency-room admissions is a direct result of the pandemic.
They say patients were coming to Japan to seek treatment for health issues like high blood pressure, anemia and diabetes.
“If we were to see a rise this year, it would mean that we’re in the midst of an epidemic,” said Takahiro Kamiya, a medical doctor who oversees emergency-treatment facilities for the Tokyo area.
“That’s why I feel worried.”
But Suga has warned of an impending health crisis if the government doesn’t take measures to address the crisis.
“The government needs to take urgent measures,” Sugarasaid on Thursday.
“If we don’t, the crisis will continue.”
“I’m worried, and I don’t want to be worried,” said Shingo Matsumoto, a Tokyo resident who received emergency treatment from a doctor who works for the government.
“I want to find a doctor, but there is no one here,” he added.
Japan is in the final stages of its own pandemic, which began on September 5 and has claimed nearly 6,700 lives.
More than 3,000 have died in the country, most from COVID-19.