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Japan's testing bottleneck sows wider virus dissemination

Capacity fails to catch up to outbreak as private labs remain unutilized

A medical worker practices performing a coronavirust test at a makeshift facility in Yokohama.   © Reuters

TOKYO -- In early April, it took an average 5.5 days from when people in Japan developed fevers or coughs to receiving positive test results for the new coronavirus. As of Saturday, it had slowed to 7.3 days. 

The set back in the seven-day moving average, according to an analysis of data from consulting firm J.A.G Japan, is reflective of the country's struggles in expanding testing. With the system unable to keep up with the outbreak's spread, patients and doctors have had to wait longer for results, underscoring the need for private-sector help.

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