Sat, October 16, 2021


Japan’s health ministry says seriously ill COVID-19 patients must be hospitalized longer

The health ministry decided Thursday to revise its criteria for hospital discharge of COVID-19 patients, extending the days in a hospital from the current 10 days from the onset of symptoms, regardless of seriousness of the symptoms, to 15 days for seriously ill patients who once needed a ventilator.

The revision is based on recent study results that seriously ill patients are likely to be able to infect others for a longer period than 10 days.

The decision was approved by the ministry’s advisory panel on the same day, and the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry was to soon inform local governments and others of the revision.

Some COVID-19 patients, who have remained hospitalized for rehabilitation and other reasons even after recovery, have not been transferred to other hospitals, causing shortages of hospital beds for seriously ill patients. By specifying the criteria for such hospital stays, the ministry aims to dispel anxieties over infections among hospitals that are to accept transferred patients.

Under the new criteria, seriously ill COVID-19 patients will have to stay in a hospital for 15 days after the onset of symptoms and also three days after they feel better. It is desirable for them to be in a private room for 20 days from the onset, just in case.

Still included are the existing criteria that patients can leave the hospital 24 hours after having negative results in two PCR tests taken after their symptoms have ended.

Domestic and overseas research has shown that patients with mild or moderate symptoms lose infectiousness about 10 days after onset. Severely ill patients are said to remain contagious for about 15 days, but often stay in the hospital longer than that.

The National Center for Global Health and Medicine’s data shows that among seriously ill patients, the median number of days from the onset of symptoms to discharge is about 30 days.

Published : February 20, 2021

By : The Japan News/ANN