It has come to light recently that 111 coronavirus cases hadn’t been tallied and 35 cases had been counted more than once in Tokyo. The total number of cases is a basic piece of data used to formulate policy measures. Why did such important data need an upward adjustment later? The cause of this mishap seems to lie in the fact that health centers in Tokyo have been faxing the number of patients to the Tokyo Metropolitan Government (TMG) and sometimes the health centers and the TMG have not followed through with the protocol of mutually confirming the numbers. The centers have also reported some cases more than once.
There are a total of 31 health centers in Tokyo, including six operated directly by the TMG (Tama area and islands), 23 that belong to the 23 Wards, and two that belong to cities. When a coronavirus case is confirmed, the cognizant center prepares an infection report with patient information such as name, condition, and route of infection and faxes it to the section in the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Bureau of Social Welfare and Public Health that collects and compiles such data.
Many cases are still confirmed every day, and a large number of faxes are sent daily to the bureau. The centers and the bureau have not been mutually confirming the number of patients either by phone or by e-mail. There was an incident where the same case was reported several times and tallied three times.
In addition, there is no set protocol to follow when health centers report a death from the virus to the metropolitan government.
In order to improve the situation, the TMG launched on May 12 a new system that enables the centers to record patient data in the computer system so that Tokyo government offices can refer to real-time information.