Tue, 26 Jan 2021

TOKYO, Nov. 27 (Xinhua) -- The Japanese government said on Friday that a new round of coronavirus antibody tests on some 15,000 people will be finished by the end of this year, as the government seeks to better grasp the scale of the pandemic's spread in the country.

Health Minister Norihisa Tamura told a press conference that the tests will take place in Tokyo, Osaka and three other prefectures including Miyagi, Aichi and Fukuoka.

Japan has been seeing record numbers of COVID-19 infections recently, with several major cities, including Tokyo and Osaka, requesting nightlife establishments to shorten their operating hours to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

According to the ministry, the results will help health officials understand more accurately to what extent the pandemic has spread in the country as antibodies to the virus would be present even in those who are without symptoms.

In June, Japan tested around 8,000 people for coronavirus antibodies, with the results showing a 0.10-percent infection rate in Tokyo, the epicenter of Japan's outbreak. Meanwhile, the infection rates for Osaka and Miyagi Prefecture stood at 0.17 percent and 0.03 percent respectively.

Some health experts said the results showed a very limited spread of the coronavirus in the three regions as the figures were much lower than some 20 percent detected in New York and 5 percent in Spain.

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