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Hiroshima Pref. to conduct PCR tests on 560,000 workers in 2 hard-hit cities

The Hiroshima Prefectural Government building (Mainichi/Itsuo Tokubo)

HIROSHIMA -- The Hiroshima Prefectural Government announced on May 6 that it will conduct polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests for the coronavirus on some 560,000 people who work at about 17,000 companies in the cities of Hiroshima and Fukuyama.

    As 80% of infections in the prefecture have been confirmed in the two cities, all business establishments with 10 or more workers in the cities are subject to the virus tests, which are planned to be carried out within the month. The prefectural government is aiming to contain the spread of infections through workplaces.

    According to the prefectural government, there were 18.8 new infections per 100,000 people during the week between April 29 and May 5 in the prefecture, meaning that the prefecture has shifted to Stage 3 (a surge in infections with at least 15 new infections per 100,000 people over a week) on the national government's four-point scale of severity. As the majority of infected people are in their 20s to 50s, it is feared that infections through business trips to other prefectures or group dining will spread at workplaces.

    Hiroshima Gov. Hidehiko Yuzaki asked for cooperation during a news conference, saying, "Though I suppose some may feel that they don't want to have their employees tested, the longer it takes to conduct tests, the higher the possibility of infection clusters occurring, and as a result there will be greater effects on business partners."

    Yuzaki also said that the prefectural government "is considering the prefecture's original intensive measures such as requesting people to refrain from going out" as a response to the current situation in which infection numbers are surging, and that a decision will be made during a task force meeting to be held within a few days.

    The prefecture is accepting reservations for PCR tests via its website through May 23 for workers in the city of Hiroshima, and will take reservations from those in the city of Fukuyama between May 13 and 23. The test kits will be distributed at business facilities, and the prefectural government will collect samples.

    For more information, contact Hiroshima Prefecture's intensive PCR test project secretariat by phone at 082-207-2322 (in Japanese).

    (Japanese original by Misa Koyama, Hiroshima Bureau)

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