Japan to set up PCR testing centers at major airports before relaxing travel bans
Japan plans to build polymerase chain reaction testing centers at three major airports in Tokyo and Osaka to examine international travelers as the country prepares to relax travel bans gradually amid the COVID-19 outbreak, health minister Katsunobu Kato said on Thursday.
Kato told media reporters that the facilities, to be built at Tokyo's Haneda Airport and Narita International Airport near the capital as well as Kansai International Airport in Osaka Prefecture, are expected to be put into use from around September.
Currently, only about 1,000 PCR tests are carried out a day at airport quarantine stations in Japan and it takes roughly one to two days to get test results. The planned testing centers will boost the number of daily PCR tests to over 4,000 while the waiting time is expected to be reduced to a few hours.
According to the health ministry, testing centers will also be set up in central parts of Tokyo and Osaka, mainly targeting travelers leaving for foreign countries.
Since February, Japan has been strengthening travel restrictions for inbound visitors, in an effort to stem the spread of the COVID-19 disease.
However, the Japanese government is negotiating with several countries to ease travel restrictions for business people on the condition that they submit negative test results and provide an itinerary for the duration of their stay.