Tokyo, Jan 26 (IANS) The Japanese government is prepping to conduct mass Covid-19 testing which has been “long overdue”, as the country’s overall caseload has increased to 369,197, while the death toll stood at 5,207.
With the spread of the virus showing little signs of abating in Japan and research indicating that the government-subsidized “Go To Travel” campaign may have caused travel-related Covid-19 cases to increas by nearly seven times, mass random PCR testing will finally be conducted from March onwards, government sources said Monday.
In metropolitan areas where the number of infections have been surging resulting in a second state of emergency being declared on January 7 for Tokyo and three neighbouring prefectures, before being expanded to seven other prefectures, the government has planned to conduct as many as several thousand polymerase chain reaction tests per day.
Up until now, local governments in Japan have only conducted PCR tests on people symptomatic of Covid-19 who have sought medical attention, or those who have had close contact with individuals who have tested positive for the virus, Xinhua news agency reported.
Health experts in Japan have said that mass PCR testing across the country is “long overdue” and the government’s understanding of the full extent of the virus’ spread remains “largely unknown”.
According to the experts, daily infection statistics only reflect patients who have sought medical attention or those who have been tested for the virus after having close contact with a known carrier.