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Japan prepares for possible new waves of coronavirus infections

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Travelers with masks, a day after the government announced the lifting of the state of emergency due to coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in large parts of the country, including Fukuoka, in Fukuoka, southern Japan, in this photo taken by Kyodo on May 15, 2020. Kyodo / via REUTERS
Travelers with masks, a day after the government announced the lifting of the state of emergency due to coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in large parts of the country, including Fukuoka, in Fukuoka, southern Japan, in this photo taken by Kyodo on May 15, 2020. Kyodo / via REUTERS

The Prime Minister of Japan, Shinzo Abeannounced the preparations to face a second and third wave of contagion across the country; a trend that will continue until the development of an effective vaccine against the virus.

Despite the partial lifting of the state of emergency, the president said that the virus is a permanent threat and an enemy of a "long battle".

Japan confirmed a total of 16,253 cases and 729 deaths s ince the declaration of the pandemic, which forced the declaration of a state of emergency maintained until Thursday in 80 percent of the country, 39 prefectures. Only eight are now in exceptional condition.

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However, the Prime Minister also confirmed that will reimpose the state of emergency in the event of a new spike in cases. For this reason, it has once again urged the population to adopt a lifestyle in which social distancing predominates.

Furthermore, the Prime Minister promised improve Japan's controls system in order to provide PCR and antibody tests with saliva samples, according to statements before the Upper House of the Japanese Parliament collected by the Japanese public chain NHK.

Shinzo Abe (Akio Kon / Pool via REUTERS)
Shinzo Abe (Akio Kon / Pool via REUTERS)

The country Japan announced this Friday that will test SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus antibodies to about 10,000 people starting in June, to better understand the pathogen and get a more precise idea of ​​the extent of the epidemic in the archipelago.

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Antigen tests will be carried out in provinces where a high number of positives, including Tokyo and Osaka; as well as in one that has counted few, such as Miyagi, according to the plan detailed by the Minister of Health, Katsunobu Kato.

The study aims to determine how much the virus has spread in these areas and the possibility of achieving, when there is a vaccine, the so-called immunity group (when the majority of the population obtains immunity to a disease through vaccination or previous infection, indirectly protecting the unvaccinated).

Authorities also expect data from the study lis help formulate perspectives on the number of infections in the event of a hypothetical second outbreak that serves to investigate the production of antibodies and how long they last, according to details collected by NHK.

The antibody test uses a blood sample and it takes less time to show results than the predominant polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test, although it is also less accurate.

Numerous countries have been conducting COVID-19 antibody tests, and although there are university researchers in Japan who have already begun to collect these data, It will be the first time that the Government performs this type of test on this scale..

The Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare plans to use various methods to find antibodies and determine their volume.

(With information from Europa Press and EFE)

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