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Nurses from defense forces to help Japan city fight pandemic

Municipality on Hokkaido suffers staff shortage in uptick of coronavirus cases

A hospital treatment room in Japan. The northernmost main island of Hokkaido has seen an upsurge in coronavirus cases.   © Reuters

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- The government decided to dispatch around 10 nurses from the Ground Self-Defense Force to two medical facilities in Asahikawa, Hokkaido, as the northern Japan city faces a shortage of health care workers due to a recent spike in coronavirus infections, Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi said Tuesday.

Large cities in Hokkaido as well as urban areas like Tokyo and Osaka have been seeing a rise in coronavirus infections since October and their hospital beds and lodging facilities provided for patients have been increasingly occupied, raising concerns about a possible collapse of the health care system.

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