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Japan homebound patients face shortage of oximeters and oxygenators

Rapid rise in COVID cases creates demand surge for medical devices

A newly established oxygen station in Tokyo: Oxygen concentrators are set beside each bed. (Photo by Yo Inoue)

TOKYO -- The number of coronavirus patients in Japan told to recuperate at home has surged to the point where there is a near shortage of medical devices needed for treatment.

There were 127,000 homebound COVID-19 patients nationwide on Wednesday last week, including those recovering in hotels and those wait-listed for hospital vacancies. The count has mushroomed more than nine times from the 14,000 stay-at-home patients recorded on July 21.

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