TOKYO: The Japanese and Tokyo metropolitan governments agreed Friday to expand strategically the scope of polymerase chain reaction, or PCR, testing for the novel coronavirus.
The agreement was reached at a meeting of economic revitalization minister Yasutoshi Nishimura, Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike and others as new COVID-19 cases in the Japanese capital hit a record high for the second consecutive day.
The expansion of PCR testing was part of measures adopted at the meeting to prevent the spread of the virus at bars, clubs and other nightlife establishments with hospitality services.
The measures also included bolstering the function of public health centers by increasing the number of nurses and other staff and setting up supplementary facilities.
The meeting was also joined by the mayors of Tokyo’s Shinjuku and Toshima wards, which host nightlife districts where new infection cases have been increasing.
“Containment measures at bars and clubs are important,” Nishimura said at a press conference after the meeting.
PCR tests will be intensively conducted on a wide range of people in nightlife districts.
“The intensive testing may increase the number of coronavirus cases, but these containment measures will help alleviate worries,” Koike said at a press conference after the meeting.
Operators of nightlife establishments will be asked to abide by the metropolitan government’s coronavirus guidelines. They will be entitled to aid if they shut after having new infection cases.
Nishimura said similar containment measures will be taken in other prefectures.
At a press conference earlier on Friday, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said that the central government has no plans to declare a state of emergency over the pandemic again.
There is “no change” in the government’s decision to ease coronavirus-related restrictions on events starting on Friday.
“We’ll closely watch the situation with a sense of vigilance,” Suga said, citing increases in coronavirus cases whose infection routes are unknown and those in elderly people.