All national dailies reported on Saturday that the Health Ministry notified prefectural governments across the country on Friday of a set of guidelines concerning the treatment of people who have tested positive for the new coronavirus. The ministry reversed its previous policy and now recommends that asymptomatic patients and those with mild symptoms be allowed to stay home or at lodging facilities secured by the prefectural governments instead of being hospitalized. The cost of accommodating patients at hotels will be covered by taxpayer money.
Meanwhile, Yomiuri wrote that Tokyo and four other prefectures hit hard by the outbreak, including Osaka and Aichi, are seeking commercial accommodations so that beds at designated hospitals can be reserved for patients in serious condition.
In a related story, Nikkei wrote that the Defense Ministry is set to procure additional ventilators and other equipment for SDF hospitals nationwide in order to treat COVID-19 patients. It also plans to obtain more ambulances and special modules for treating patients on aircraft in preparation for transporting them from Tokyo and other areas hit hard by the virus to other parts of Japan. Sankei wrote the ministry will retrofit barracks for isolating asymptomatic patients.