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The Nippon Foundation to Conduct 2 Million Free PCR Tests for Nursing Home Caregivers in Tokyo (2) [2021/01/26]
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Those aged 70 or older account for more than 85% of Japan’s total COVID-19 fatalities.


According to the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare, out of 168 clusters of COVID-19 infections identified nationwide between November 25 and 30, 2020, nursing care facilities accounted for 39, second only to the workplace, which saw 43. As of January 13, those aged 70 or older accounted for about 85% of the nation’s total COVID-19 fatalities.

Finding and treating mildly ill and asymptomatic patients as quickly as possible and preventing them from infecting others is considered to be the most effective way to avoid transmission of the disease. But many care workers are said to be reluctant to undertake PCR tests due mainly to the cost−ranging from 20,000 to 40,000 yen (about 190 to 380 dollars)−prompting the foundation to offer them free and regular testing.

I hope the latest initiative will serve as a role model for our COVID-19 response. If nursing care facilities in other prefectures ask us to conduct PCR tests for their staff, we would consider offering them based on the availability of testing kits and human resources.

I firmly believe that to conquer the pandemic, it is crucially important to balance the public assistance by the government with mutual cooperation and self-supporting efforts by individual citizens in a fair and equitable manner.

At the press conference to announce the PCR testing initiative, I revealed details of “mutual cooperation” to be undertaken by the foundation and stressed the importance of “self-supporting efforts” and the personal responsibility that each of us has. I called on members of the public to take personal health measures to protect themselves, such as observing social distancing, wearing masks, avoiding crowded areas with poor ventilation, refraining from non-essential outings and staying home as much as possible.

This is the foundation’s fourth initiative in response to the coronavirus pandemic as a private institution.
Our first three initiatives are as follows:

(1) Building a 3.7 billion yen (35.7 million dollars) makeshift facility with 140 private rooms in Odaiba for COVID-19 patients with mild or no symptoms.

(2) Launching a 500 million-yen (about 4.8 million dollars) project to help transport to and from hospitals coronavirus patients with mild symptoms, and doctors and nurses working around the clock to combat COVID-19.

(3) Providing 128 emergency medical service hospitals in 36 prefectures across the nation that take care of severely ill and high-risk patients with a total of 4.98 billion yen (about 48.1 million dollars) in grants to help them beef up facilities and equipment.

(End)



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