With the COVID-19 pandemic stretching Japan’s healthcare system and infrastructures to their limits, Japan has called on dentists with special training to step in and help administer COVID-19 tests.
The dentists are asked to perform throat and nose swabs for patients suspected of contracting the virus.
The unorthodox authorization comes after Japan’s recent state of emergency declaration and a sudden surge in confirmed cases.
According to the World Health Organization, Japan has the largest number of dentists per capita in Asia, and it is believed that the request for them to help out is to meet Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s goal of conducting 20,000 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests per day.
As PCR tests have a 95 percent accuracy rate, why don’t Taiwan use it for mass-testing as well? According to a recent announcement from Taiwan’s Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC), PCR mass testings are quite expensive as every test costs a patient around NT$3,000, and authorities claim it is not necessary for Taiwan.
Taiwan Health Minister Chen Shih-Chung added that mass testing is more suitable for countries with large numbers of confirmed cases to quickly track down infected citizens.