People on a pedestrian crossing in Tokyo. Photo: AP/Kiichiro Sato
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Japan embarks on random and targeted COVID-19 testing, but some experts call for more

34 Comments
By Rocky Swift and Kiyoshi Takenaka

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However, many health experts argue the updated strategy still falls far short of what is needed, especially given that inoculations have only just started and vaccine supplies are limited.

What do experts know?!

6 ( +12 / -6 )

One year on, Japan starts testing. The people in charge shold be ashamed.

15 ( +19 / -4 )

To hell with random testing. Waste of money and people’s time. I would refuse to be tested if not showing common symptoms for this corona cold virus

-6 ( +13 / -19 )

[ TOKYO.

Last week, about 600 people were tested for the coronavirus in the city of Utsunomiya, Tochigi Prefecture - the Japanese government's first stab at systematic random and targeted testing that it hopes will prevent a new wave of infections. ]

Congratulations.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Over the course of the pandemic, it has performed about 60 COVID-19 tests per 1,000 people, 

Pathetic, lagging behind the third world.

11 ( +15 / -4 )

Nearly two months ago, it was reported that 800,000 PCR tests were going to be conducted in Hiroshima city. Whatever happened to those tests?

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-japan-testing-idUSKBN29K0CW

8 ( +11 / -3 )

it has performed about 60 COVID-19 tests per 1,000 people,

Interesting numbers, I d like to know who provide the source for calculation.

JP population: about 120M

Let's take over a year: 365 days

60 tests per 1000 people OK.

That gives 19,726 tests per day everyday since February last year which we all know is way higher than the reports.

What is interesting here is

Have these tests been performed but were never reported in the media ?

Or is this rate number invented like numbers in every JP company accounting dpt ?

7 ( +9 / -2 )

Last week, about 600 people were tested for the coronavirus in the city of Utsunomiya, Tochigi Prefecture - the Japanese government's first stab at systematic random and targeted testing that it hopes will prevent a new wave of infections.

Some 300 people walking in the city and another 300 at local schools were given saliva-based PCR or polymerase chain reaction tests.

And the results were......?

8 ( +10 / -2 )

Over the course of the pandemic, it has performed about 60 COVID-19 tests per 1,000 people, 

THAT'S where you get those low numbers from

Pathetic, lagging behind the third world.

agree brother!

8 ( +10 / -2 )

What’s the meaning of random testing ? They will not find cases ,

Authorities must focus and put power on people who show symptoms or are contact cases, and really test them. Not spending money like that for these random testing.

And the results?

Testing for antibodies has a meaning to know what percentage of the population has been exposed, but not random PCR or saliva test.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Cases go up!

Less testing.

Cases go down!

More testing.

This is the same type of logic that applies over and over in Japan

11 ( +14 / -3 )

How many tests are available is not how many actually conducted in need. Massive and random testing in declining close to nil areas is off the mark, ends up a waste of healthcare resources. Such could suffer the shortage of stock when it is really necessary.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

@Sandy

I would refuse to be tested if not showing common symptoms

Same here!

-3 ( +6 / -9 )

can someone explain how a "random" test can be "targeted?"

4 ( +4 / -0 )

it was a small effort but for Japan, the testing exercise - set to be replicated in many parts of the country - represents a significant step up.

Welcome to every other developed nation about half a year ago. Good keeping up with the times, Japan.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Yusuke Nakamura, a renowned geneticist and cancer researcher.

what would a genteticist and cancer researcher know about the spread of covid and testing? he's not an immunologist or an infectious disease expert so who cares what he thinks. it's like asking one of the posters here their opinion about testing.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

One year later, Japan is testing. Why? Because now they know how and they had one year to devise a perfect plan.

The lack of urgency is appalling.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

can someone explain how a "random" test can be "targeted?"

I think what they mean is that they will be doing both. Thus far they have only done targeted testing on symptomatic people, now they are adding a separate system of testing people at random to get a better understanding of the actual prevalence of Covid, something which the current targeted testing only system can’t provide.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Are the Government relying upon cultural social distancing, masks?

A reticence to take any concrete action in the face of a looming Olympic games.

Is there any reliable data?

These random PCR tests purpose, seem little more than an exercise in window dressing, a pretense to create an appearance of action, when in fact ministries are in various states of inaction.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Random testing here in Hiroshima was a huge and costly waste of time.

4 cases were found from pcr tests and zero from saliva tests. 9000 tests in total well below the final plan for 15,000 tests.

Participation was low and nothing changed. Those were believe corona is everywhere continue to believe correct is rampant and those who are less concerned remain unconcerned.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

@carpslidy

Random testing here in Hiroshima was a huge and costly waste of time.

4 cases were found from pcr tests and zero from saliva tests. 9000 tests in total well below the final plan for 15,000 tests.

Hardly 6 weeks ago Hiroshima announced they planned to test 800,000 people. And it was only 9,000? There were articles about it and lots of fanfare. What happened?

https://japantoday.com/category/national/japan%27s-hiroshima-to-conduct-large-scale-pcr-tests-to-battle-covid-19

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Derek GrebeToday 12:57 pm JST

''One year on, Japan starts testing. The people in charge shold be ashamed.''

Same sentiment, but I would have said, 'the people in charge should be indicted'

2 ( +3 / -1 )

@Monty: Right on as are most of your posts.

Should there be massive random testing it should be for antibodies.

Testing randomly for COVID is like testing randomly for measles, or sickle cell anemia or gout.

So many of you here do not understand stats and random non reasonable testing. I bet you buy lottery tickets as well, and if you read the stats, most are bought by the poor, uneducated and on the dole.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

@Carp: Perfect response

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Hardly 6 weeks ago Hiroshima announced they planned to test 800,000 people. And it was only 9,000? There were articles about it and lots of fanfare. What happened?

Taxpayers called b.s on spending 100,000,000 yen on the prefectural mayor's publicity stunt.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Not only late to the party again, but this time they didn’t bring a bottle.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Last week, about 600 people were tested for the coronavirus in the city of Utsunomiya, Tochigi Prefecture - the Japanese government's first stab at systematic random and targeted testing that it hopes will prevent a new wave of infections.

Just one word., Sugoi (great)

What is the population of Utsunomiya city again 520 thousand people. 6,000 test, is just great (sugoi)

2 ( +3 / -1 )

The health ministry's policy of eschewing mass-testing to conserve manpower and hospital resources

Yeah, right. That was the reason. Nothng to do with needing to bury any inconvenient figures about the real rate of COVID infection in the run up to the Olympic cashgrab.

Do you also have a Rainbow Bridge to sell me?

3 ( +4 / -1 )

However, many health experts argue the updated strategy still falls far short of what is needed

Considering cities like Melbourne with a population around 5 million were testing 20,000 people every day their strategy definitely falls short of what is needed. It should also be noted that due to lockdowns, isolating clusters and border closures the whole of Australia is virus free.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Random testing on people in Japan's capital in December showed that 0.91% had antibodies to the virus, compared with about 0.1% in a similar study in June, health ministry said in a report on Friday

The study sampled more than 15,000 people and also showed increases in antibody rates in Osaka and Miyagi Prefecture.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-japan-tests-idUSKBN2A50BD

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Police state and force PCR testing but if you refused you get fined or prison time. IF you hidden at home you dont have to worry about this but what worries me is whats in that device they are testing you with as it could be contaminated with COVID-19. Can you trust the agent is not Covid Positive?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

@SandBeachHeaven

To hell with random testing. Waste of money and people’s time. I would refuse to be tested if not showing common symptoms for this corona cold virus

here’s the problem that I have, my family and I can’t get on a flight unless we show a negative test from the past three days, airline policy. My ticket that I bought last year is set to expire and because Japan can’t get their act together or figure out who they’re gonna lie to next, in order to save face, people like me are getting shafted.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

here’s the problem that I have, my family and I can’t get on a flight unless we show a negative test from the past three days, airline policy

So why not get tested?

Official testing centers too expensive?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@carpslidy

Random testing here in Hiroshima was a huge and costly waste of time.

As far as i know what Hiroshima wanted to do was mass testing, not random testing. They aimed to test as many as possible up to 800,000 as best i recall.

@SandyBeachHeaven

So many of you here do not understand stats and random non reasonable testing. 

You dont seem to understand random testing yourself.

Randm testing is meant to test a representative sample of the target population so results can be generalized to get an estimate of the spread of infection for the said population.

It's used in surveys also

2 ( +2 / -0 )

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