As Japan starts to cast a wider net to prevent spread of the omicron COVID-19 variant, central and local governments are scrambling to ensure there are enough quarantine facilities for those who have come in close contact with people confirmed as infected with the highly transmissible virus.

On Tuesday, the government instructed all omicron close contacts to be quarantined at a facility monitored by central or local government officials for 14 days. Until now, close contacts had been allowed to quarantine in their homes.

“The health ministry notified prefectural governments today to start making preparations early on to make sure they can handle a rapid rise in infections,” said Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno on Wednesday. “With this, we hope to have the necessary system in place.”