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HOME  > Past issues  > 2020 April 15 - 21  > Suprapartisan lawmakers urge Health Ministry to strengthen and broaden PCR testing system for coronavirus
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2020 April 15 - 21 [POLITICS]

Suprapartisan lawmakers urge Health Ministry to strengthen and broaden PCR testing system for coronavirus

April 18, 2020
A suprapartisan group of Dietmembers on April 17 petitioned the Health Minister to strengthen the PCR testing system for the coronavirus and broaden the testing so that many more suspected virus carriers will have access to PCR tests.

The cross-party group was composed of eight lawmakers from both ruling and opposition parties. They included Japanese Communist Party Secretariat Head Koike Akira (Upper House), Tamura Norihisa of the Liberal Democratic Party (Lower House), Abe Tomoko of the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan (LH), Okamoto Mitsunori of the Democratic Party for the People (LH), and Akino Kozo of the Komei Party (UH).

The eight Dietmembers in the petitioning stressed that in order to enhance infection prevention systems for medical workers and the PCR testing system, it is necessary to establish drive-through testing sites and temporary testing facilities separated from hospitals. They also demanded that the current system requiring public health center approval for PCR tests be changed to a system under which all persons with potential exposure to COVID-19 should be allowed to take PCR tests with doctors’ recommendation. They added that this system change will contribute to reducing the workloads of workers at public health centers.

In the petitioning, Koike said, “Lawmakers went beyond party lines to join hands to petition the ministry. This is very significant. The ministry should implement financial measures to improve the PCR testing system.”

Health Minister Kato Katsunobu replied that the ministry will make utmost efforts to protect people’s lives and frontline healthcare workers’ safety.

Past related article:
> JCP Koike talks about prevention of healthcare collapse over coronavirus outbreak and need to increase testing rate [ April 11, 2020]
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