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Japan’s So Overloaded by Omicron It’s Starting to Confirm Cases Without Testing

A Covid-19 testing station in the Akihabara district of Tokyo.

A Covid-19 testing station in the Akihabara district of Tokyo.

Photographer: Soichiro Koriyama/Bloomberg

A Covid test may not be needed to be counted as infected in Japan, as an omicron surge quickly overtakes the country’s health-care resources and forces the government to find workarounds.

People who have close contact with a Covid patient and later became symptomatic can be considered infected, according to a statement on the government’s website. Mild cases in vaccinated people under age 40 who don’t have underlying conditions and aren’t at high risk can test at home to confirm an infection. They can be referred to follow-up centers for monitoring until they recover, according to the statement.