May 8th, Criteria Revised by the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare
On May 8th, regarding the criteria of receiving specialist outpatient care through the “Returnees and Close Contact Consultation Center” for people who suspect they have been infected with the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare notified prefectures across the country of a change in the consultation process; for those experiencing cold-like symptoms, like fever and coughing, it is suggested to immediate contact a center for consultation. The criterion for experiencing body temperatures of over 37.5⁰C has been eliminated.
The new criteria lays out that contacting a center for consultation is suggested for those with cold-like symptoms, such as cough or fever, even if temperatures do not go over 37.5⁰C. The length of time for symptoms to persist before proceeding with consultation was not specified, but a Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare executive expressed, “We wish people to seek consultation, without hesitation,” and especially if such conditions persist for more than four days.
Anyone experiencing difficulty breathing, extreme fatigue, or high fever, those liable to fall seriously ill, such as the elderly or with chronic disease, and pregnant women with cold-like symptoms are suggested to immediately seek consultation. Depending on the region, consultations are being accepted at medical associations or clinics.
Concerning the criteria of fever/high fever symptoms for consultation and receiving medical examination, a Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare executive stated, “We are looking to make decisions based on each person’s normal body temperature,” therefore, a definitive number could not be specified.
The necessity of carrying out a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test will continue to be based on the examining physician’s judgement.
Up until this point, cold-like symptoms or a fever of 37.5⁰C must persist for at least 4 days before being eligible for specialist outpatient care through a local center.