With worries of a sharp increase in COVID-19 infections overwhelming the country’s hospitals, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga announced Tuesday that only seriously ill coronavirus patients or those at risk of becoming so will be admitted for treatment.
Others infected with COVID-19 will have to isolate at home in order to try to make sure there are enough beds available.
Japan is adding about 10,000 new cases per day, prompting the head of the Japan Medical Association to call Tuesday for a nationwide state of emergency.
In China, authorities said Tuesday all residents of Wuhan will be tested after the city recorded its first domestic infections in more than a year.
The virus was first detected in Wuhan in late 2019, and the city of 11 million people was put under a strict lockdown in January 2020 that lasted 76 days.
As many countries worry about the spread of the delta variant of the coronavirus, South Korean health officials on Tuesday reported the country’s first two cases of a sublineage known as delta plus.
Britain, Portugal and India are among countries that previously reported a few cases of delta plus infections.
The World Health Organization has said it is important to closely watch such changes in the virus that could be more resistant to drugs and vaccines, and for more genomic sequencing of COVID-19 tests for tracking and studying.
Countries are also rushing to vaccinate their populations to drive down infections. Pakistan’s top health official reported Tuesday that the country had administered 1 million doses in one day for the first time.
Pakistan’s southern port city of Karachi began a partial lockdown on Saturday with a wave of cases putting pressure on its health care system.
In Australia, authorities said a lockdown in Sydney could be allowed to expire at the end of the month if half of the city is vaccinated by then.
Australian airline Qantas expressed less optimism Tuesday, saying it expects the restrictions in Sydney to be in place for at least two months and announcing furloughs for 2,500 of its 26,000 workers in Australia.
More restrictions in US
In the United States, more jurisdictions are requiring employees to get vaccinated or submit to regular testing as the country grapples with a rise of infections blamed on the delta variant.
Denver, Colorado, Mayor Michael Hancock announced Monday the city will mandate all city employees and private sector workers in high-risk settings to be vaccinated against the virus by the end of September.
New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy said state health care workers, along with workers in corrections facilities or assisted living centers, must be vaccinated or face testing twice a week.
In New York State, Governor Andrew Cuomo urged businesses to turn away unvaccinated customers. He said it is in businesses’ best interests because many customers want to know that the customer next to them is vaccinated.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Monday that 70% of U.S. adults have received at least one shot of a coronavirus vaccine. President Joe Biden had originally aimed to pass that milestone by July 4.
Some information for this report came from the Associated Press, AFP and Reuters.