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Users of contact tracing app to be given free PCR tests 

  • August 22, 2020
  • , Nikkei
  • JMH Summary

Saturday’s Nikkei front-paged a Health Ministry announcement on Friday that people who download and use the COVID-19 contract tracing app COCOA will soon be able to undergo PCR tests free of charge if they receive alerts saying they have been in close contact with virus carriers and would like to be tested. This new policy is reportedly intended to boost the number of app users. In a follow-up report on Sunday, the paper said that four out of five people who were notified by the app that they had been in close contact with virus carriers were not able to get tested because local public health centers deemed it unnecessary.  

 

The daily separately reported that the Health Ministry decided on Friday that healthcare and elderly care workers in areas where COVID-19 cluster infections have occurred will be entitled to receive free PCR tests even if their workplaces have not been directly impacted by the virus. While noting that the decision was made to ensure that hospitals and nursing homes continue to be staffed with “essential workers,” the daily expressed doubts about whether such across-the-board testing will be possible given the limitations of PCR testing capacity.       

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