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HOME  > Past issues  > 2021 March 31 - April 6  > JCP Kurabayashi: Gov’t should boost pace and scale of COVID-19 testing to stop 4th wave of infections
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2021 March 31 - April 6 TOP3 [POLITICS]

JCP Kurabayashi: Gov’t should boost pace and scale of COVID-19 testing to stop 4th wave of infections

April 6, 2021

Japanese Communist Party lawmaker Kurabayashi Akiko on April 5 at a House of Councilors Audit Committee meeting said that in order to prevent a possible 4th wave of COVID-19 from hitting Japan, the government should become serious about boosting the testing capacity and providing financial support to struggling businesses and individuals.

Kurabayashi pointed out that under the government anti-coronavirus measures, although eating establishments are required to shorten their business hours, the compensation they receive is too small to stay in business. In addition, Kurabayasi criticized the government for terminating its financial support for business entities affected by the COVID-recession. She said that as a way to appeal for business cooperation in efforts to prevent the pandemic from entering into a fourth wave, the government should again provide adequate support to struggling businesses.

Kurabayashi pointed out that in order to reduce the burden on medical institutions, it is necessary to avoid an increase in the number of patients with severe COVID-19 symptoms through measures to trace and protect asymptomatic carriers. She stressed that the need now is for the government to boost the pace and scale of the PCR testing capacity.

Regarding the government mass testing policy, Kurabayashi noted that despite the government-set target of 10,000 tests a day, only 748 tests were conducted daily in the last week, and said that the government should drastically expand testing capacity. Furthermore, Kurabayashi said that in order to encourage people to cooperate in mass testing without fear of a COVID-19 positive test result, the government should include compensation programs in the current mass testing policy.

Kurabayashi asked about the rate of variant tests conducted on COVID-19 patients. In response, Health Minister Tamura Norihisa said that the rate stood at 31%, well below the government-set target of 40%.

Kurabayashi said that the current testing strategy is insufficient to deal with the spread of variant COVID-19 strains and surges as seen in the Kansai region. She said, “When the third wave hit Japan, many lives that could have been saved were not saved and frontline workers were forced to focus on triage. Such a tragedy should never be allowed to be repeated,” demanding that the pace and scale of testing capacity be increased in order to block a possible 4th wave.

Past related article:
> 2021 budget that spends more on military buildup than on anti-corona measures enacted [March 27, 2021]
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