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Health Care

Japan greenlights online doctor visits as outbreak hits hospitals

Stopgap measure for first-time consultations hamstrung by lagging telemedicine

Hospitals are increasingly at risk of coronavirus outbreaks within their premises. (Photo by Takaki Kashiwabara)

TOKYO -- The Japanese government has lifted restrictions on receiving online medical services as clusters of novel coronavirus cases emerge at health clinics and hospitals.

Starting Monday, doctors were allowed to conduct appointments with first-time patients online or via telephone. Patients will be able to receive prescriptions by mail without a face-to-face exam. These services will be covered by Japan's national health insurance program.

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