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Hiroshima to provide free PCR virus tests for up to 800,000 people

The Hiroshima Prefectural Government building (Mainichi/Itsuo Tokubo)

HIROSHIMA -- The Hiroshima Prefectural Government in western Japan is considering conducting free polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests for the coronavirus for up to 800,000 people in the prefectural capital, officials revealed on Jan. 14.

    The tests will be carried out on applicants to uncover infections at an early stage among residents and workers in the city's Naka, Higashi, Minami and Nishi wards, where relatively high numbers of infections have emerged. Conducting tests on such a large scale is rare in Japan. The prefectural government is coordinating the timing of the tests.

    In the city of Hiroshima, the ratio of new infections per 100,000 people reached 25.7 in the week ending Jan. 13. This put the city at "Stage 4" -- the most serious level of infections defined by a central government panel, which corresponds to at least 25 cases per 100,000

    Through free testing, Hiroshima aims to screen infections at an early stage and curb the spread of COVID-19.

    (Japanese original by Misa Koyama, Hiroshima Bureau)

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