Tokyo Expands Free Coronavirus Testing

The Tokyo Metropolitan Government on Monday extended its free testing for the coronavirus to 180 locations, including pharmacies.

On Saturday last week, authorities in the capital began offering free tests to all residents who want it, including those without symptoms. The move came after the first apparent community transmission of the Omicron variant was reported in Tokyo on Friday.

They say about 30,000 tests can be done per day by making them available in more places.

Many people came to be tested at one of the new test centers near Ikebukuro station. A man in his 20s who plans to return to his hometown in Niigata Prefecture for the holidays said his family asked him to get tested before returning home.

A woman in her 20s said she needed a negative test certificate to visit her sick grandmother in a care home. The woman said she decided to get tested because she hadn’t seen her for almost a year.

Free coronavirus tests are for residents of Tokyo. Other people may also benefit from free tests, including those who cannot be vaccinated for health reasons or because they are 11 years of age or younger.

People can choose a PCR or antigen test. The result of a PCR test can be received the same day or later. The results of the antigen are available in about ten minutes.