May 10, 2020 / 4:04 PM / in a month

More than 90% of Tokyo hospital beds for COVID-19 patients filled: government

People wearing protective face masks walk on the street under a nationwide state of emergency as the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues in Tokyo, Japan May 10, 2020. REUTERS/Issei Kato

TOKYO (Reuters) - More than 90 percent of hospital beds secured for COVID-19 patients in Tokyo have already been occupied, the Japanese Health Ministry said on Sunday, underscoring the pressing need to curb the further spread of the new coronavirus.

The ministry said 1,832 COVID-19 patients were hospitalised in the capital as of April 28, or 91.6 percent of the 2,000 beds made available for such patients.

The Tokyo Metropolitan government aims to boost the number of beds for COVID-19 patients to 4,000 eventually.

“There is a possibility that the virus will spread further. It is necessary to bring closer the number of beds from 2,000 to such target quickly,” a Health Ministry official told Reuters.

About 5,000 people in Tokyo were confirmed to have been infected with the virus, representing nearly one-third of Japan’s total infections of around 16,000, according to public broadcaster NHK.

Nationwide, the number of hospitalised COVID-19 patients came to 5,558 as of April 28, versus 14,486 beds set aside for those with the lung disease caused by the virus, bringing down the occupancy rate to 38 percent, data from the ministry showed.

Reporting by Kiyoshi Takenaka; Editing by Alex Richardson

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