Although Japan is apparently past the peak of the omicron-driven sixth wave, shortages of antigen and PCR tests are still commonplace, doctors say.

Tokyo posted a decline in COVID-19 cases from the previous week for a 10th straight day on Friday, leading to some respite in the number of outpatients seeking the tests. At the peak around two weeks ago, Navitas Clinic in Shinjuku, for example, had expended its stockpile of antigen tests, which give results in about 15 minutes. Further supplies have since arrived, but the stock is still far from what the clinic considers to be a sufficient level, said Dr. Masahiro Kami.

“On Monday, I used a leftover antigen test on a nursery teacher who had a temperature of 38.5 degrees and diagnosed her after she tested positive,” he said. “Patients would like to be diagnosed right on the spot via antigen tests. But other than such special cases, we are still refraining from conducting antigen tests.