Japan's surge in cases pushes up demand for tests

NHK -- Jan 24
Japan's daily coronavirus infections topped 50,000 for the second day in a row on Sunday, as surging cases at schools and workplaces prompted more people to seek tests at community clinics.

At a clinic in Tokyo, all the slots for tests were filled just half an hour after it opened on Friday.

A public health center in the capital has been stretched so thin that it has stopped tracing the close contacts of people who have tested positive.

The scarcity of testing kits is posing a serious problem.

The clinic said it will run out of preliminary antigen testing kits in two weeks.

It has given up a plan to start giving booster shots next month.

The head of the clinic said it would be helpful if people refrain from seeking a test as long as they have no symptoms, even if they have been in close contact with those who have tested positive. He said that they should only visit medical institutions if they develop symptoms.

Tokyo reported more than 9,400 new cases on Sunday.

The daily tally is more than double the figure a week ago.

Tokyo will open an accommodation facility for infected people without any symptoms who might spread the coronavirus to family members. The facility has 350 beds and also has booths for teleworking.

Tokyo Governor Koike Yuriko visited the facility before it opens on Tuesday.

"We have set up this facility for infected people who do not have symptoms. We hope they will use it effectively," Koike said.

The coronavirus continues to spread across Japan.

Intensive measures against infection are now in place in 16 prefectures.

Other prefectures, including Osaka, have also requested that the central government put them under a quasi-state of emergency.

新型コロナの感染拡大が続いています。22日の国内の感染者は5万人を超え、5日連続で最多を更新しました。 - ANNnewsCH