The Tokyo Metropolitan Government (TMG) has decided that emergency hospitals in Tokyo will be allowed to implement antigen testing in preparation for a “second wave” of the new coronavirus. The decision was made on June 11. Antigen tests are less accurate than PCR tests, but are easy to implement. By hospitalizing those who test positive in antigen testing, the TMG aims to be able to start treatment promptly.
Antigen tests will be used by secondary emergency medical centers. The aim is to prevent the spread of infection to patients and health care providers through early detection in emergency patients brought to the centers.
There are about 230 secondary emergency medical centers in Tokyo. The facilities will prepare to admit emergency patients using beds for coronavirus patients depending on their test results and symptoms.
The TMG plans to expand its PCR testing capacity from 3,100 per day to 10,000 per day. It will incorporate saliva-based tests, which carry less risk of infection. The TMG will also analyze sewage for traces of the virus in order to detect signs of an outbreak at an early stage.
By the end of June 2020, the TMG will designate 20 hospitals as “priority medical institutions” to treat patients with severe symptoms and those with preexisting conditions. To secure beds for patients with severe symptoms, the TMG will also work quickly to designate medical institutions for patients with moderate symptoms.