Tokyo expands free coronavirus testing

The Tokyo Metropolitan Government on Monday expanded its free coronavirus testing to 180 locations, including drugstores.

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

They say that about 30,000 tests can be conducted per day by making them available at more locations.

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 coming home.

A woman in her 20s said she needs a negative test certificate to visit her sick grandmother in a care home. The woman said she decided to get tested as she hasn't seen her for nearly a year.

The free coronavirus tests are for Tokyo residents. Other people can also get free tests, including those who cannot be vaccinated due to health reasons or because they are 11 years old or younger.

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