NARITA: Japan will establish polymerase chain reaction, or PCR, testing centers at three key international airports in the country to conduct new coronavirus checks on travelers arriving at or departing from the airports, health minister Katsunobu Kato has said.
The government aims to open the PCR centers at Tokyo International Airport at Haneda, Narita International Airport in Chiba Prefecture, east of Tokyo, and Kansai International Airport in Osaka Prefecture, western Japan, in September.
Japan hopes the new centers will help boost the number of PCR tests conducted at the airports and make test results available more quickly, as the country prepares to relax its entry and departure restrictions that have been introduced amid the pandemic.
At the three airports, nearby buildings will be utilized for collecting and analyzing PCR test samples.
Currently, PCR tests are conducted at quarantine stations at the airports. Some people stay at nearby hotels to wait for the test results as it takes about a day for them to come out.
The number of PCR tests carried out at each airport now stands at up to 1,000 per day.
Japan also plans to establish one similar center each in central Tokyo and central Osaka for conducting PCR tests on people who are leaving the country.
“We’ll conduct quarantine checks swiftly while preventing the viral spread at the same time, in order to make sure immigration screening and other procedures are carried out smoothly,” Kato told reporters in the city of Narita in Chiba Prefecture on Thursday.