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2,300 people in Tokyo had close contact with suspected omicron-variant carriers

This electron microscope photo shows the coronavirus's omicron variant successfully isolated at the National Institute of Infectious Diseases. (Photo courtesy of the National Institute of Infectious Diseases).

TOKYO -- The number of people in Japan's capital to have had close contact with individuals infected or suspected of being infected with the coronavirus's omicron variant has risen to some 2,300 as of Dec. 22, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government revealed on Dec. 23.

    The 2,300 people were close contacts of those who tested positive for the omicron variant in airport quarantine or who were deemed suspected cases in PCR testing of the mutant strain. As of Dec. 20, the figure for such close contact cases was about 1,500.

    On Dec. 23, the governors of Tokyo, and three neighboring prefectures, Chiba, Kanagawa and Saitama, submitted a joint request to the central government for measures to prevent an excessive burden on public health centers.

    The Japanese government has requested that those who had close contact with omicron-variant carriers be admitted to designated accommodation facilities. But of the around 2,300 people, only about 600 -- including those scheduled for admission -- have been accepted at such places.

    In light of the increasing burden on public health centers in recommending admission to facilities and handling testing, the four governors held a teleconference on Dec. 23 to compile a joint request to the central government for clarification on how to handle close contacts when infection spreads and for measures to reduce the burden on public health centers.

    (Japanese original by Shinji Kurokawa and Asako Takeuchi, Tokyo City News Department)

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