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The Tokyo Metropolitan Government will soon introduce a smartphone app to check the health condition of novel coronavirus patients with mild or no symptoms who are staying at home, it has been learned.

A smartphone app for health management used by novel coronavirus patients at hotels earmarked for those with mild or no symptoms is displayed in Hachioji, Tokyo, on April 30. The Tokyo Metropolitan Government now plans to use the app for patients who choose to stay at home as well. | KYODO
A smartphone app for health management used by novel coronavirus patients at hotels earmarked for those with mild or no symptoms is displayed in Hachioji, Tokyo, on April 30. The Tokyo Metropolitan Government now plans to use the app for patients who choose to stay at home as well. | KYODO

The shift from telephone calls to an app is aimed at easing growing burdens on public health centers amid the resurgence of cases since July in the capital, metropolitan government officials said.

Tokyo has in principle asked patients with mild or no symptoms to stay at designated hotels to rest and recover, saying that they could infect their family members if they stay at home and that their health condition might deteriorate suddenly.

In fact, however, many patients choose to stay at home, citing reasons such as care of children or older people. As of Monday, 745 patients were staying at home to rest while 287 patients were resting at hotels.

An app has already been in use for hotel stayers, who use it to send information twice every day, such as their body temperature, blood oxygen saturation levels and symptoms they notice. Doctors and nurses stationed at the hotels check the information.

The metropolitan government will adopt the system for patients staying at home, too, relieving public health center staff from making telephone calls to check how the patients are.

“Many people don’t answer the telephone,” a senior metropolitan government official said. “The introduction of an app will help cut the time (taken) for the work.”

The official emphasized the importance of reducing burdens on people working on the ground, with the government now having been tackling the virus crisis for an extended period.

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