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HOME  > Past issues  > 2020 August 19 - 25  > Superpartisan doctor-turned lawmakers urge gov’t to improve PCR testing at COVID-19 epicenters
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2020 August 19 - 25 [POLITICS]

Superpartisan doctor-turned lawmakers urge gov’t to improve PCR testing at COVID-19 epicenters

August 21, 2020
A group of doctor-turned lawmakers, including Japanese Communist Party Secretariat Head Koike Akira, on August 18 submitted to Health Minister Kato Katsunobu a four-point urgent proposal for tackling the continued spread of COVID-19.

Along with JCP Koike, lawmakers of the Liberal Democratic Party, Hanyuda Takashi, and the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan, Abe Tomoko, also attended the proposal submission.

In the four-point proposal, the superpartisan lawmakers’ group called for government measures to deal with the current situation. They include a measure to identify COVID-19 epicenters and carry out PCR tests on residents and workers at business entities in these areas as well as a measure to provide financial support to all medical institutions.

In the submission of the proposal, citing the August 7 Health Ministry’s announcement, Koike pointed out that this announcement indicates the ministry’s decision to introduce a “mass testing” policy which recommends each region to conduct PCR tests on individuals, irrespective of whether they are displaying symptoms, based on its own judgement in order to prevent a further spread of infections. He demanded that in accordance with this policy, the government provide sufficient financial support to local governments, including Tokyo’s Setagaya Ward, that are willing to employ the population-wide testing strategy.

Health Minister Kato in reply admitted what Koike pointed out, and said, “I hope each municipality will adopt the 'mass testing' policy. I’ll work to assist such municipalities financially in carrying out universal testing.”

Furthermore, Koike demanded the improvement of government financial aid for medical facilities and said, “Government spending focusing on healthcare services will be the most effective measure to boost economy.”

In response, the minister expressed his intent to provide financial support to medical providers and do everything possible, including sending necessary healthcare workforce to Okinawa which has been overwhelmed by a COVID-19 surge.

Past related articles:
> Shii demands PCR tests at COVID-19 epicenters [July 29, 2020]
> Suprapartisan lawmakers urge Health Ministry to strengthen and broaden PCR testing system for coronavirus [April 18, 2020]
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