A rehabilitation hospital in central Tokyo has been converted to exclusively treat coronavirus patients to help ease the strain on medical services.
Ishikawajima Memorial Hospital in Chuo Ward implemented the change from Monday after a request from the central and Tokyo metropolitan governments.
The hospital used to specialize in rehabilitation programs for people recovering from various conditions. It also accepted coronavirus patients whose condition had stabilized.
The hospital has prepared as many as 18 beds for patients with mild and moderate symptoms, and has installed ventilators in case patients who become seriously ill cannot be transferred to other medical institutions.
The head of the hospital operator, Takekawa Setsuo, says he decided on the conversion because the outbreak's fifth wave created a shortage of hospital capacity, forcing many patients to receive care from doctors in their homes.
He also says the staff will prepare for a possible new surge in infections and try to save as many lives as possible.