The Osaka Prefectural Government asked private hospitals in the prefecture Tuesday for around 30 beds to treat novel coronavirus patients.

The emergency request, made to a hospital group, is based on the special measures law on the fight against the pandemic.

“We would like to ask for cooperation from hospitals that are capable enough,” Osaka Gov. Hirofumi Yoshimura said at the prefectural government office. “If they don’t, we’ll have to issue a directive based on Article 33 of the special measures law.”

In late December, the prefectural government asked 108 private hospitals without beds for coronavirus patients to secure 200 beds in total for them.

While 28 hospitals allocated around 100 beds at the request, the others were either unable to admit coronavirus patients or did not respond.

As a result, the government decided to narrow the scope of the request to 16 hospitals of a certain size and ask for around 30 beds.

Separately, it requested 39 public hospitals to additionally offer 200 out of currently unused beds. Those beds will be used once the bed occupancy rate for patients with mild to moderate COVID-19 symptoms, which currently stands at around 79%, exceeds 85%.

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