Tokyo introduces testing system for omicron variant

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The Tokyo Metropolitan Government has introduced a proprietary PCR testing system that can detect the omicron variant of the coronavirus.

The system, developed by the Tokyo Metropolitan Institute of Public Health, was made ready for use on Friday. Previous tests were unable to distinguish the new variant from other strains.

The introduction of the new PCR testing system is among the metropolitan government’s emergency measures to tackle the spread of the omicron variant announced by Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike at a news conference Friday.

“We will closely monitor the community infection situations and take responses,” Koike said. “The metropolitan government will make full-scale efforts to devise preemptive measures.”

The Tokyo government will also increase the number of rooms at hotels and other accommodation facilities set aside for coronavirus close contacts from about 1,750 to 3,400.

Two cases of infection with the omicron variant have been confirmed in Japan. Of 85 people in Tokyo determined to be close contacts with the two patients, 61 have started stays at accommodation faculties secured by the metropolitan government, according to the government.

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