Tokyo to provide residents with free COVID test kits

Tokyo – The Tokyo Metropolitan Government on Tuesday began offering free deliveries of self-testing kits for coronavirus upon request, with the aim of lessening the burden on the medical system. Tokyo officials say that applications on the first day reached the daily limit of 40,000 in about five and a half hours.

The self-testing kit allows users to take a nasal sample with a swab and provides a result within 15 to 30 minutes.

Officials say the kits are aimed at people who have come into close contact with an infected person, and that they will arrive a few days after an application is lodged.

The kits will allow people who develop symptoms while isolating at home to test themselves for viral antigens. This will help to reduce the burden on medical institutions struggling to cope with a surge in cases of infection in the capital.

A positive result is to be treated as a legitimate diagnosis, according to the officials, doing away with the need to visit a medical institution. They are calling on those who get a positive result to demonstrate this when consulting a medical professional remotely or in person.

The officials add that people should remain at home even if the test comes up negative because the kits are not fail-safe.

Applications will be accepted until February 27.