Govt. panel sums up problems with coronavirus response

A Japanese government panel of experts studying the country's response to the coronavirus pandemic has compiled a report pointing out challenges that emerged, such as the strain on the healthcare system.

The report says the country's healthcare system was often overburdened because the role of each regional medical institution was unclear.

In addition, the government could only request provision of hospital beds, due to a lack of legal procedures for having medical institutions provide such beds.

The report stresses the importance of constantly being prepared for a crisis, and of creating a system of response including legislation and reviewing regional healthcare.

The government plans to decide this week on measures to boost its response to infectious diseases.

Anti-coronavirus measures are currently handled by the Cabinet Secretariat, the health ministry and other bodies.

The government wants to set up an infectious diseases management agency under the Cabinet Secretariat to singlehandedly take response measures.

The government also aims to establish a Japanese version of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The new organization would be established by integrating the National Institute of Infectious Diseases, which conducts basic research, and the National Center for Global Health and Medicine, which provides clinical care.