Govt distributes antigen test kits to local governments

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
Qualitative antigen test kits

The health ministry announced Friday that the government will purchase about 24 million qualitative antigen test kits and distribute them to local governments. The move is in response to the flood of people attending fever outpatient clinics.

Local governments will work out how to distribute test kits to patients suspected of being infected with COVID-19. However, to ease the burden on clinics, the government is urging them to consider distributing the kits at pharmacies and public facilities or sending them directly to patient’s homes.

The results of the tests will be reported online to local government health follow-up centers staffed by doctors. Health, Labor and Welfare Minister Shigeyuki Goto said at a press conference on Friday, “We will work to avoid overburdening clinics and ensure a system in which those who need it can receive tests and health observation promptly.”

According to the ministry, the first batch of about 12 million kits has been secured, and delivery to prefectures began on Wednesday. The remaining 12 million kits will be shipped as soon as they become available.