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Japan to secure 1.6mn oral Covid medicine: PM

November 12, 2021 03:42 PM

Tokyo, Nov 12 || Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said on Friday that his government has decided to secure 1.6 million doses of oral medication for Covid-19 and increase the hospitalisation capacity for infected patients by 30 per cent compared to the peak level this summer.

"By securing a medical system based on the worst-case scenario and enhancing early treatment, we will be able to continue our economic and social activities even if infections spread," Kishida said at a special task force meeting.

The government has agreed with US pharmaceutical company Merck & Co. on the procurement of 1.6 million doses of molnupiravir, an orally administered drug that prevents the virus from entering or multiplying in the body, and it plans to enable them to be delivered to patients' home.

In addition, 2 billion yen ($17.5 million) will be set aside for the development of oral medicines in Japan.

The Covid-19 response package also includes enhancing the hospitalisation capacity to be enough for accepting around 37,000 people by the end of November.

During the peak of the pandemic in Japan this summer, many patients had to recuperate at home due to the limited beds offered at hospitals.

The government initially planned to increase the capacity by only 20 perc ent, but it revised upward after reviewing prefectural data.

If the coronavirus variants circulating in Japan became three times more contagious than the existing strains, the central government would urge areas not severely affected to dispatch medical personnel to support areas where infections surge.


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