Japan to include COVID-19 testing in national health insurance

Testing will no longer require referral from a public health centre

Japan to include COVID-19 testing in national health insurance

Insurance News

By Gabriel Olano

Japan’s health ministry has announced that it will include testing for the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) under its national health insurance system, as part of the government’s efforts to halt the spread of the virus.

According to a report by Kyodo News, the tests were previously conducted only when recommended by public health centres. There have been instances where the centres have refused to conduct tests despite requests from doctors, drawing the public’s ire.

With testing now included under national health insurance, individuals can now request testing at public hospitals or private testing companies, without the need for a referral from a public health centre.

Japanese health authorities will also provide further support to research that seeks to develop quicker test kits, as the ones currently in use take several hours before results are available.

The growing number of COVID-19 cases in Japan has caused significant public concern. The quarantine of cruise ship Diamond Princess in Yokohama Bay has drawn criticism from the domestic and international communities.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has announced a two-week quarantine period for visitors from China and South Korea, and suspended all previously-issued visas.

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