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Experts warn Japan may not have enough new virus test kits

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By Reito Kaneko and Yuka Nakao

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.... given that the test results are likely to take up to two weeks and the number of infected patients may increase during the period.

has been in Japan for almost 4 months and Japan is way behind other countries. Why 2weeks? Why not enough kits? Three months ago I could believe that but when I read other countries an do it in two to three days and I read that the states has developed a kit that can deceiver results in 24 hours. So why the lack of kits and why still so long to get results. Wake up Japan and get with the program. Our lives depend on it!

30 ( +32 / -2 )

I was on the Chiyoda line and Odakyu line this morning and hardly nobody was wearing a mask. Is the Japanese media telling them the threat is gone or something? One person was even eating a bento in the train... Very different scene from last week.

20 ( +22 / -2 )

I've got the perfect solution! Don't test. Oh wait...

14 ( +15 / -1 )

Well, not much testing going on, clusters appearing all over,Japanese mostly living in ultra crowded cities, the proposed 6% ‘interaction’ rate is something of a dream...

17 ( +18 / -1 )

If you are rich and famous you will get immediately tested, no worries. No such thing as shortage for these folk.

13 ( +15 / -2 )

No need to test everybody, just elderly people.

I honestly think the best thing to do is to semi-quarantine the elderly and let the virus runs its course through the population so we all get immunity to it.

Anybody under 60 has very little risk from this virus.

Actually, Japan’s government strategy may just be to let the virus runs its course.

-28 ( +14 / -42 )

I was on the Chiyoda line and Odakyu line this morning and hardly nobody was wearing a mask.

Hardly nobody?

-6 ( +7 / -13 )

I honestly think the best thing to do is to semi-quarantine the elderly and let the virus runs its course through the population so we all get immunity to it.

There are a lot of elderly people in Japan - over a quarter are over 65. Very difficult to quarantine them. Also, a lot of people live with elderly relatives. Again, quarantine is quite impossible not practical.

Saying that, there is something to be said for the herd immunity concept, but Japan has just too many elderly for it to work - once they come out of quarantine in a year's time, the virus with take hold again.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

I was watching TBS last night, and the panel of people they had on included some doctors who were discussing the reasons why Japan was not testing comparatively many people. One of the doctors said one of the reasons was because most hospitals here are unable to perform the PCR analysis required to determine if the test is positive or not. He went to say that this is because the medical profession here is "old fashioned" and these kinds of tests are not routinely done here, as compared to somewhere like South Korea. Basically he was saying although you can test people, analyzing those tests is the problem. I have no idea if this true, but he is a Japanese doctor an this is what he said.

20 ( +20 / -0 )

@nonu6976

Yes, agree.

But some doctors in other countries do say it is an easy and routine test in hospitals. Japan can dit it easily, I am sure, and doctors and medical staff are not stupid and will master it quickly. There is maybe a need for medical equipment to perform the test which is lacking here

12 ( +12 / -0 )

I was on the Chiyoda line and Odakyu line this morning and hardly nobody was wearing a mask. Is the Japanese media telling them the threat is gone or something?

I was noticing the same on the trains today. Maybe 30% non-mask wearers around 5:45am on the Hanzomon-sen, and a lot of them were older.

Glad I'm only in the office one day a week, and an early commute at that.

14 ( +14 / -0 )

I honestly think the best thing to do is to semi-quarantine the elderly and let the virus runs its course through the population so we all get immunity to it.

Google the word "Tara Jane Langston", a 39 year old healthy British woman who caught the virus while going overseas and had to be admitted to the ICU. Look at her scary video. There are people who are not elderly but gets really sick after bring infected.

18 ( +20 / -2 )

Anybody under 60 has very little risk from this virus.

Actually, Japan’s government strategy may just be to let the virus runs its course.

And when we allow this thing to run free among the under 60s, and millions get it, hundreds of thousands of whom require urgent medical attention all at the same time, what then? You’ll just assure them all its no different from a common cold and problem solved?

15 ( +16 / -1 )

Maybe the reason for the majority of people not wearing masks anymore is that masks are impossible to find and sold out everywhere I look..

15 ( +15 / -0 )

And when we allow this thing to run free among the under 60s, and millions get it, hundreds of thousands of whom require urgent medical attention all at the same time, what then?

Looking at the global data, 99.999% of healthy young people do not require hospitalization.

But once this virus passes through through healthy young people, they will gain immunity and thus give all us of herd immunity and Coronavirus will disappear from the face of the earth.

Either that or we can stay locked up in our rooms for the next 10 years.

-8 ( +9 / -17 )

Under the present situation there is no effective cure therapy existing, increasing testing people only enhances panic of society. Remember 20% of positive people die and they are mostly aged frail people. Japanese preventive way of finding "clusters" of the contracted people and effectively confining them is effective. Japan is buying time till cure therapy is found.

-8 ( +4 / -12 )

Anybody under 60 has very little risk from this virus.

Publicly available data suggests that 8.4% of the people between 0 and 49 years of age who have been confirmed with COVID-19 have been hospitalized.

13 ( +13 / -0 )

I honestly think the best thing to do is to semi-quarantine the elderly and let the virus runs its course through the population so we all get immunity to it.

Anybody under 60 has very little risk from this virus.

This is really dangerous talk and is a quick way to cause many, many unneeded deaths. Almost every expert has tried to stop people talking like this.

Please read qualified news before propagating nonsense.

17 ( +18 / -1 )

Anybody under 60 has very little risk from this virus.

In the US, "New data show that up to one-fifth of infected people ages 20-44 have been hospitalized, including 2%-4% who required treatment in an intensive care unit."

"In the first retrospective study of Covid-19 among children in the country where the pandemic began (China), they (researchers) count 2,143 cases in children." "6% of pediatric cases were severe and even critical, compared to 19% of adult cases. And in an unexplained finding, nearly 11% of the Covid-19 cases in infants were severe or critical, though no babies died."

9 ( +10 / -1 )

@didou - I was talking to somebody in the industry that supplies pcr equipment, not a doctor but a supplier/service person, and he told me that is definitely not lacking. It is not expensive, and certain places have a lot of it but can’t use it for testing for Covid-19... I can’t remember why he said it can’t be used... but even with that he said he doesn’t understand why tests aren’t being performed.

11 ( +11 / -0 )

There is a possibility that liberal testing in other countries actually contributed to the propagation of the disease. Mass testing would mean that the infected will mingle with those who are also already sick with other diseases and therefore susceptible. Drive through testing was an answer to that but not all testing is done that way.

-7 ( +3 / -10 )

On NHK (in Japanese)

According to Shimonoseki City, a man entered Shimonoseki City via Fukuoka Airport from the Philippines on the 9th of this month and then got a fever of 38 degrees on the 12th, and symptoms such as a cough appeared, so he went to a hospital.

He returned to the hospital on the 21st because his symptoms did not improve. He was diagnosed with mycoplasma pneumonia, a bacterial infection.

At that time, the doctor judged that a new coronavirus test was also necessary, and sent the sample to the prefectural environmental health center for testing. As a result, the infection was confirmed on the 22nd.

Absolutely mind-boggling.

17 ( +17 / -0 )

and the very first who are endangered with so many contacts are the healthcare workers themselves. Even in the best managed environments the lack of supplies alone makes it hard to observe proper safety procedures.

If mass testing is adopted it should be modeled to or a variation of the drive thru.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

A few weeks ago on JT

SoftBank's Son criticized for offering free coronavirus tests

If they test more, they'll probably find more cases. Find more cases, Olympics gets canceled.

Gotta save face.

14 ( +15 / -1 )

"In the first place, we believe there is not so much need for testing in Japan (as in other countries)," Takuma Kato, deputy director of the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare's infectious diseases control division, said on March 11.

idiot.

I honestly think the best thing to do is to semi-quarantine the elderly and let the virus runs its course through the population so we all get immunity to it.

Anybody under 60 has very little risk from this virus.

> This is really dangerous talk and is a quick way to cause many, many unneeded deaths. Almost every expert has tried to stop people talking like this.

> Please read qualified news before propagating nonsense.

Amen!

16 ( +18 / -2 )

There is a possibility that liberal testing in other countries actually contributed to the propagation of the disease.

There is also a possibility that this is all an Alex Jones false flag exercise...

Lol yeah =)

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Other commenters (apart from BB) are bang on.

One of the biggest issues is that of a lack of responsibility. Japanese culture dictates that they must do everything they can to preserve the "wa"(harmony) of the group. If anything should deviate, even slightly from the the accepted 'norm', it means absolutely everything has to be grinded to a halt until the issue of responsibility and the loss of face is resolved.

Thus, they develop thick, complicated manuals for everything here. If it's not in the manual, then Japanese people are at a loss of what to do.

The thing is in times of crisis, there is no manual. The situation is evolving day by day, which requires taking the initiative and responsibility. Japanese culture assumes events are predictable, which they are not.

18 ( +18 / -0 )

Despite Japan's efforts to carry out more testing for the new coronavirus,

I almost stopped reading right there. Start your article with a demonstrable falsehood - great plan for credibility.

"In the first place, we believe there is not so much need for testing in Japan (as in other countries),"

And there it is. "The We Japanese are unique" school of epidemiology.

We've had it, folks. There are still swarms of people milling about at Shibuya Scramble, Hanami parties, the lot. This is going to blow up big style in Japan, and we aren't the least bit prepared. Got to cling to the Olympic White Elephant, when all rational evidence shows it's not going to happen.

18 ( +18 / -0 )

Even China and south korea have enough test, the developed countries Japan,EU and US haven't. That is ridicular! They just DON'T want to.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

@Burning Bush

Agreed. Let it run its course and you'll eventually have herd immunity. That is the approach humanity took in the past, including in 1918-19, and it worked, but at what cost?

27-28% of the Japanese population is over 65. The numbers here are going to be astronomical. I would like to think that in 2020, we are better than that.

10 ( +11 / -1 )

They don't need test kits, because they don't test. This way they can tell the world alls clear on our island so come on over and celebrate the Olympics.

12 ( +12 / -0 )

There are 800 hospitals equpped to make the virus test and analysis them. At least the testing should be 25,000/day.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Well the Japanese aren't going to listen to what foreigners say, but if I get sick I'm going to hospital and most likely survive...

If they don't test me for the virus it's going to be old Japanese people who die though because all the time I'm walking around with it I could accidentally be spreading it. The only people I know actually exercising any restraint are foreigners as well and it's ironic that they're more likely to be blamed if this goes wrong

15 ( +16 / -1 )

There are 800 hospitals equpped to make the virus test and analysis them. At least the testing should be 25,000/day.

Yep, the equipment is there. A lot more testing should be done.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

I read somewhere last week that they are not really tracking the virus. They are tracking pnemonoia cases, instead.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

I honestly think the best thing to do is to semi-quarantine the elderly and let the virus runs its course through the population so we all get immunity to it.

Anybody under 60 has very little risk from this virus.

Triggering a mass die-off of the over 60s is a very bad idea, actually.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Sorry but I do not agree with this "Test Test Test" mantra as it can lead to critcally needed medical resources being used up for mild to asymptomatic cases at the expense of support for the severe cases. If we are to accept that some 80% of infections cause no to mild symptoms only and are treated with natural recovery. This is exactly what has happened in Italy, widespread testing and a near collapse of the medical system. What Japan, and many other nations need is far more ICU capability, from hospital neds to respirators, than presently available. If an accepted treatment has been established then by all means I would test, test and test and start treament as soon as possible. But no such treatment exists outside of experimental phases.

-8 ( +5 / -13 )

NZ has just announced a 4 week lockdown beginning Wednesday.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

If you read my last two posts, it looks like Japan won the debate about testing.

The links to two articles:

1) https://edition.cnn.com/world/live-news/coronavirus-outbreak-03-21-20-intl-hnk/h_78c431662464112a27434663a0860cdc

2) https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/2020/03/21/coronavirus-testing-strategyshift/

This is important information . I suggest you read it.

I await your reply.

-9 ( +0 / -9 )

Yep, the equipment is there. A lot more testing should be done.

Probably have to balance the availability of tests vs the ability to allocate PPE to testing. Every test requires a full gown/mask/glove change for the person taking the samples. Some of that might be better allocated towards people actually treating patients.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

> Looking at the global data, 99.999% of healthy young people do not require hospitalization.

That is just not true. In the US right now about 40% of patients hospitalized with it are under 54.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

BurningBush

Anybody under 60 has very little risk from this virus.

Remember the guy in Aichi who went out to spread the virus was in his 50s, he succumbed to the virus and passed away last week.

He was in the news because of his action that is we were able to hear of his death. There may be many deaths from the virus for the 40s to 60s age group that go unreported and we will never know.

11 ( +11 / -0 )

Japan has largely contained the spread of the Coronavirus. They don't need that many testing kits. Keep up the good work!

-16 ( +3 / -19 )

To those that think a reduction in testing is "good":

The idea is to phone a hospital first and then, if they agree, to go in for testing.

Other governments have also instigated strict lockdowns and/or those societies have agreed to, and followed strict social isolation procedures.

Many other countries have understood that washing hands (NOT including "gargling"), avoiding touching faces, etc is the correct way to avoid the virus. They have also understood that wearing a mask does NOT prevent the virus (and in the case of touching a potentially contaminated mask, while removing it, can potentially SPREAD infection).

Thus, the lack of awareness/following of adequate preventative measures AND the lack of testing, coupled with no strict measures in place to socially distance the population are factors of high concern in Japan right now.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

@Burning Bush

No need to test everybody, just elderly people.

I honestly think the best thing to do is to semi-quarantine the elderly and let the virus runs its course through the population so we all get immunity to it.

Anybody under 60 has very little risk from this virus.

Many others have pointed out other cases of young&healthy people who've gotten very seriously ill, here's another one:

https://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/news/uk-news/fit-healthy-nurse-36-fighting-17961788

And yes, even one death is a death too many.

Actually, Japan’s government strategy may just be to let the virus runs its course.

In this, I fear, you might be right. One estimate from a European country said that without any restrictions and quarantines, the epidemic would last around 90 days there, but with a large amount of patients in hospitals & casualties. With restrictions, the epidemic would (and probably will, as they are implementing the restrictions) last for around 6 months. Now I wonder if Japan follows this no restrictions strategy, in the hopes of the monster disappearing just in time for the Olympics. The amount of sick & dead people will be sky high though. Scary scenario.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

The WHO has recently urged countries to test every suspected case.

What defines a suspected case is up to each country to decide, so really this advice is of no use.

Either way, I trust the experts in Japan over the clowns WHO are paid to speak what and when China wants them to.

-17 ( +0 / -17 )

To all who say that it's the older generation getting "hit" by the virus:

https://www.yahoo.com/news/york-more-10-000-coronavirus-175728062.html

More than half of the patients are 50 or younger.

This virus doesn't care about age!

And if Japan started testing the way other countries do the rate would be much higher.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

Therougou: “What defines a suspected case is up to each country to decide, so really this advice is of no use.”

That kind of knee-jerk defense of a poor response is what is going to sink this nation. Italy is now higher than China in terms in deaths because they followed the same logic.

“Either way, I trust the experts in Japan over the clowns WHO are paid to speak what and when China wants them to.”

which is why you’ll likely get it. Don’t forget, it’s these “experts” that said it’s okay to go home directly from a plane to Wuhan, and that quarantine is not necessary. It’s these “experts” who told Iwata-Sensei— a REAL expert — that he was wrong and a liar, before they had to admit he was right and they had forgotten to test a bunch of people getting off the Diamond Princess, and who later tested positive. It’s these “experts” who insist that only state-run hospitals and companies with vested interests Supply and conduct the tests, etc., etc., etc.

but hey, amigo, if you develop respiratory distress and other life-threatening I’ll eases after catching this because you followed the experts, just define it as something else, like “Breathing break”, or “the common cold”. Just don’t expect any help because they are not at all prepared here, and never learn.

12 ( +14 / -2 )

Once the schools and other facilities reopen....rebound transmission is possible!!! Boom!!!

6 ( +6 / -0 )

As a foreign resident in Japan, I'm bending over backwards with myself hoping against hope that Japan is going to dodge a bullet here and miss the brunt of this awful Coronavirus pandemic. The economic fallout is going to be bad enough, but the death that accompanies this is even worse. And then there's the vicious assault the medical community is going through in their attempt to do battle with this vicious virus and they're sacrificing their lives on the front lines against this. This is awful and it really is a war.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

Either that or we can stay locked up in our rooms for the next 10 years

Have you ever heard of something called "vaccine"? Seriously, mate. You are just embarrassing yourself?

6 ( +7 / -1 )

test, trace, treat.

Test all those showing the virus symptoms. Test all the vital and essential workers like doctors and nurses. In Italy, 12 doctors have died.

Trac all people who cam into contact with an infected person and test.

treat all people with the virus as best as pis possible.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

The corona numbers reported in Japan are not accurate at all. It likely represents less than 10% of actual infected....if that. My partner and I tried to get tested for good reasons, but were given the round about. We tried hospitals, clinics and even the city ward's health center. A doctor there told us that hospitals and clinics will refuse to see you if you want to get a Coronavirus test.... I am not kidding. This came from the mouth of a city representative.

Read this article from CNN. We experience almost exactly the same thing here in Japan.

(https://edition.cnn.com/2020/03/21/us/west-virginia-coronavirus-patient-one-test/index.html)

I can understand the government's/Abe's decided to prioritize economy over health, but now that the olympics most likely won't happen, they ended choosing the losing side. The only good decision they have left is to immediately take aggressive measures and compliment lock downs to control the situation and prevent more economic loses in the long run.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Sorry but I do not agree with this "Test Test Test" mantra as it can lead to critcally needed medical resources being used up for mild to asymptomatic cases at the expense of support for the severe cases. If we are to accept that some 80% of infections cause no to mild symptoms only and are treated with natural recovery. 

What you saying is the type of argument put up by those that have sat on their butt and done nothing and only hoping for the best.

The virus doesn't take days off waiting for people to prepare, making decision fast and acting on them is what is required.

The government allocated 15.3 billion yen to address the mask shortage and claimed it had stockpiles yet almost 2 months now the situation hasn't been addressed even a little.

China could built two 1000 bed hospitals in 10 days Japan can do it as well if the will power is there.

If Korea can carry out 15,000 test a day why can't the 3rd largest be able to do the same. There is just no excuse at all.

Countries like S.korea and Germany have done massive test while also greatly holding down the death rate.

Italy will always be used by these do-nothing advocates to buttresd their ineptitude.

Even small third world developing countries have increased pcr testing why not the 3rd largest economy.

No need focusing on a bad unprepared model like Italy to make a case for not increasing pcr test when there are transparent success models like S.Korea. and Germany.

The number of affected doesn't matter, it is holding down the number of deaths that matter.

And there should be transparency so as not to create an atmosphere of doubt, suspicion and assumption.

12 ( +12 / -0 )

Test kits are available from China.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

The youngest to die in the UK from the virus is 18 years.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

How can some countried have a so low desth rate. This is not mzgic and why the expert scientists are not listened to.

Facts, logical thinking and results should be entirely known by now.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

A blood thinner used to treat pancreatitis and kidney disease has been identified as a potential therapy for coronavirus patients, with clinical trials in Japan possibly set to begin within a month, researchers at the University of Tokyo said Wednesday.

The drug, known by the scientific name nafamostat, is an enzyme inhibitor typically used to prevent blood clots.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

@Cameron

Because they were not relevant as hey compared the measure taken by area which have declared they failed containment thus they were in the state of community spread. So all their decision are bound with community spread regard : the whole population is seen as potentially infected thus modulated quarantine is in place, testing is use in priority for severe case as WHO requirement (thought continue to test as much as possible), any person with symptom is inferred to be infected thus should isolate (needed documentation provided), only severe case are to be oriented to medical facility.

If you were to consider these as a justification of Japan testing policy, you should then consider than Japan is in a state of heavy community spread. I will let you imagine what the absence of quarantine measure would involve.

So pick your choice : irrelevant to the situation of Japan or pretty big badmouthing of Japan.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Haaa NemuiToday 08:40 am JST

@didou - I was talking to somebody in the industry that supplies pcr equipment, not a doctor but a supplier/service person, and he told me that is definitely not lacking. It is not expensive, and certain places have a lot of it but can’t use it for testing for Covid-19... I can’t remember why he said it can’t be used... but even with that he said he doesn’t understand why tests aren’t being performed.

Thanks for the update. I was just guessing.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

More bureaucratic nonsense and stubborness from the authorities here. It reminds of post-3/11 when they were waiting for faxed orders for medicines and health supplies from towns and villages that had been flattened and flooded, with no power or communication lines.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

What about the masks? Where are they? Allergy season is upon us.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

NZ imported every case of this virus and let them wander around. Adern thinking they would self isolate, fairly dumb really, and then decides to give the whole country home detention.

She should have used some intelligence first and made everyone going to NZ go into quarantine leaving the rest of the country to continue living normally.

Being NZ is isolated anyway but hey we know you adern lovers will all think she has done the right thing.

She could have and should have avoided locking NZ down.

Imagine if they lock down Kanto ? Could they ? How would that go ?

Maybe like the evacuation of tokyo when the nuclear disaster struck? They simply could not do it. Logistic impossibility do you think?

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

They have had months to organize the manufacture of kits, what have they been doing all this time ?? How did Korea manage to do so quickly.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

warn? How about "can state with confidence that"?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Lies not only in Japan. Japan closed borders for S.Korea but maybe it should be the other way around.

You should all watch this

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BS0qoRyapUI&feature=share

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

@smithinjapan

Therougou: “What defines a suspected case is up to each country to decide, so really this advice is of no use.”

That kind of knee-jerk defense of a poor response is what is going to sink this nation. Italy is now higher than China in terms in deaths because they followed the same logic.

Italy are following the same logic? Last time I heard they were doing a lot more tests than Japan. So what is your recommendation? You can't have your cake and eat it.

“Either way, I trust the experts in Japan over the clowns WHO are paid to speak what and when China wants them to.”

which is why you’ll likely get it.

It is possible. Remember American experts said up to 70% of us will get it. So again, what is your point?

https://www.businessinsider.com/coronavirus-150-million-americans-may-get-infected-2020-3

Don’t forget, it’s these “experts” that said it’s okay to go home directly from a plane to Wuhan, and that quarantine is not necessary. It’s these “experts” who told Iwata-Sensei— a REAL expert — that he was wrong and a liar, before they had to admit he was right and they had forgotten to test a bunch of people getting off the Diamond Princess, and who later tested positive.

No, these "experts" have no power to force people to do anything. Neither did Abe until recently. Surely you knew this already.

It’s these “experts” who insist that only state-run hospitals and companies with vested interests Supply and conduct the tests, etc., etc., etc.

So would you prefer that every local "Naika" quack can use up a coronavirus test just because someone felt like getting tested? Have you ever been to a doctor in Japan where they give you antibiotics without even doing a diagnosis? Do you really want these quacks using up tests?

but hey, amigo, if you develop respiratory distress and other life-threatening I’ll eases after catching this because you followed the experts, just define it as something else, like “Breathing break”, or “the common cold”. Just don’t expect any help because they are not at all prepared here, and never learn.

If I get sick and my conditions are bad enough, I will get tested. Until then, I'll stay home and isolate as recommended.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

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