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Japan's contact tracers squeezed by mounting COVID cases

Public health center staffing spread thin with few leads from national tracing app

Commuters wearing protective masks make their way at Shinagawa station in Tokyo on Jan. 8.   © Reuters

TOKYO -- Public health centers across Japan are faced with scaling back their contact-tracing programs for the coronavirus as they struggle to find enough people to help contain a mounting outbreak.

Since the early part of this month, Kanagawa Prefecture has narrowed the targets of its contact-tracing team to a few select populations, including those working at hospitals, schools, retirement communities and welfare facilities. Movement tracing of community spread has generally ceased.

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