Less than 1% of Tokyo residents 'have antibodies'

NHK -- Feb 06
A Japanese health ministry survey shows that less than one percent of people in Tokyo and four other prefectures are estimated to have had antibodies against the coronavirus last December.

Ministry officials say this means that most of Japan's population have yet to acquire antibodies, and they are urging people not to let their guard down.

Antibodies, which are a type of blood protein, are produced after people become infected with the virus. The presence of antibodies in the blood suggests infection has occurred in the past.

The ministry tested blood samples of about 15,000 residents aged 20 or older from Tokyo, Osaka, Miyagi, Aichi and Fukuoka prefectures, from December 14 to 25.

The subjects were randomly selected from those who wanted to be tested. The ministry released the test results on Friday.

The results show that antibodies were confirmed in 0.91 percent of people tested in Tokyo, 0.58 percent in Osaka, 0.54 percent in Aichi, 0.19 percent in Fukuoka and 0.14 percent in Miyagi.

Antibodies tests had already been conducted in Tokyo, Osaka and Miyagi prefectures in June.

Compared with the June test, Tokyo's figure grew by 0.81 percentage points. The figures increased by 0.41 points in Osaka and 0.11 points in Miyagi.

The officials are urging the public to remain cautious about the coronavirus. They note that antibodies in those who had been infected may disappear over time, meaning they will lose their immunity to the virus.