COVID-19 Q&A

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Q&A Links

-Q&A about Infection Prevention
-Q&A about Symptoms,Tests and Diagnosis

-Q&A about Self-isolation and Close Contact
-Q&A about Vaccines and Side Effects
-Q&A about Border Measures
-Q&A about COVID-19 in Japanese

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Call Centers

MHLW Call Center (Toll Free)

-COVID-19: 0120-565-653
-COVID-19 Vaccines: 0120-761-770
English, Chinese, Korean, Portuguese and Spanish: 9:00-21:00、Thai: 9:00-18:00、Vietnamese: 10:00-19:00
*Everyday including weekends and holidays. This service cannot provide medical advice.

Local Call Centers

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Infection Prevention

【Q1】What should I do in my everyday life?


The basic strategies for preventing infectious diseases, including COVID-19, are hand washing and cough etiquette, which includes wearing a mask. The main commonalities of outbreaks are: (1) poor ventilation, (2) a space where people spend time gathered closely together, and (3) a place where unspecified large numbers of people are likely to come into contact with each other.


【Q2】What precautions can we take against COVID-19?


Preventive measures such as avoiding the “Three Cs” (Closed spaces, Crowded places, and Close-contact settings) and "Five situations" that increase the risk of infection remain as effective against COVID-19 and the variants. Aim to completely avoid the three Cs.




【Q3】How can I deal with the risk of infection on social gathering?


Places where people eat or drink have been reported to be at high risk of COVID-19 infection. Keep social distancing, wear your mask when not eating, wash and distinct your hands,, and frequent ventilation on social gathering.


【Q4】What should I do if my family member is infected?


We ask 6 things to be done in the poster below.


【Q5】What should I do if my child tests positive?


We ask 6 things to be done in the poster below.


【Q6】How to dispose of household garbage


(1) Cover an empty garbage container with a plastic garbage bag.
(2) Securely tie garbage bags to avoid direct contact.
(3) Wash your hands immediately after disposal.

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Symptoms

【Q1】What should I do if I have a fever, cough or other symptoms?


Do not go to a medical institution right away; contact a COVID-19 Consultation Center (the name may vary depending on the region) first.

(1) At the very least, please contact Call center in any of the following situations.
-You have a severe symptoms such as breathing difficulty, intense tiredness (fatigue), or high fever: Symptoms vary from person to person. If you feel the symptoms are severe, contact Call center immediately.
-If you are at high risk of becoming severely ill(※) and have relatively mild cold symptoms, such as fever and cough. (※Elderly, People with underlying conditions such as diabetes, heart failure, or respiratory diseases (COPD, etc.), People on dialysis, People taking immunosuppressive agents or anti-cancer drugs.)

(2) Other than the above, people have been having relatively mild cold symptoms, such as fever and cough, that are persistent: Symptoms vary from person to person. If you feel the symptoms are severe, contact a Call Center immediately.

(3) Just in case, pregnant women, the same as people who are susceptible to severe illness, should contact your doctor or a COVID-19 Consultation Center. For children, it is advisable to see a pediatrician, and so please consult with a COVID-19 Consultation Center or your pediatric medical institution by telephone or other means.

(4) Take days off work or school and refrain from dining with others if you are feeling sick. Even if your fever is relieved by taking fever medicine, you may spread the infection.

【Q2】What happens after I speak with a doctor or COVID-19 Consultation Center?


The general flow is as follows. This may vary from region to region.

If a center determines that someone could have COVID-19 based on the content of the consultation, it will arrange a visit to a medical institution or a test center so that the person receives an appropriate examination. A list of webpages showing the COVID-19 Consultation Center published by each prefecture and the Multilingual Call Centers has been put together. Please contact the nearest center when calling for a consultation.

【Q3】Is it safe to take antipyretic to treat symptoms?


No problem. Consult with your doctor or pharmacist in the following cases; ・If you are taking other medicine, while pregnancy or breastfeeding, or senior citizen. You might be limited medicines to take under medical care such as stomach and duodenal ulcers. ・If you have ever experienced allergic symptoms or asthma due to medication, etc. ・If symptoms are severe or long-lasting such as severe pain or high fever.

【Q4】What if I run out of medicine?


It depends on the municipalities. Some of them deliver medicines through online medical services. You may pick your medication up from your roommate, or you may ask deliver person to leave the package in front of the door.

【Q5】I have a bad cough and cough up phlegm. How to stay clam?


When you lie down on your back for a long time, gravity causes phlegm to accumulate more sassily. Lying down on your stomach sometimes improve blood circulation.

【Q6】Can I get immunity or antibodies if I am infected with COVID-19?


It is known that antibodies and immunity against viral infections, such as measles, are produced after infection. It is also known that antibodies are produced in the body after infection with COVID-19, but at this moment, it is not clear how much antibody is produced, how long it will last, and whether immunity can be acquired or not.

Therefore, even if you find that you do not have antibodies to COVID-19, it does not mean that you are not infected with COVID-19 or that you have not been infected in the past.

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Tests and Diagnosis

【Q1】What tests are being used to diagnose COVID-19?


Tests for diagnosing COVID-19 include PCR Test, Quantitative Antigen Test, and Qualitative Antigen Test. These tests are all designed to detect SARS-CoV-2 virus (which caused COVID-19) in one’s body and therefore can be used to see if someone is currently infected with the virus. Antibody tests are only used to see if a person has previously been infected with COVID-19. Antibody tests are not for use to diagnose acute infection.


【Q2】How can I check if I am infected with COVID-19?


If you have a fever or any symptoms and if your doctor suspects that you are infected, you will be tested for public expense. If you wish to be tested without any symptoms, you need to pay it for your own.

【Q3】I want to be diagnosed and receive prescription by phone or online


Considering the current situation, as a temporary special measure, diagnosis and prescriptions will be available by phone or online including initial consultation, at the doctor’s discretion. If you do not have a family doctor, please contact the nearest medical institution listed on our website (only in Japanese). Depending on your symptoms and condition, the doctor may advise you to have an in-person consultation at the doctor's discretion.

【Q4】How does the pulse oximeter work?


If Sp02 (blood oxygen saturation) level measured below 93% by the pulse oximeter, consult public health center or your family doctor immediately. It may not give an accurate reading if your hands are cold or swollen, or you have nail polish when you use it. There may be a slight error in measurements depending on the product.

【Q5】Who is at increased risk for severe illness and death among diagnosed with COVID-19?


Among those diagnosed with COVID19, the elderly, those with underlying medical conditions, and some pregnant women in their third trimesters are more likely than others to develop severe illness or die. Comorbidities known to cause more severe illness include: Chronic, Obstructive Pulmonary Diseases (COPD ), Chronic Kidney Diseases, Diabetes, Hypertension, Cardiovascular diseases, Obesity, and Smoking.
Full vaccination (two doses) is effective in preventing severe illness.



【Q6】What is the definition of "severe illness"?


-Severe illness : People who needs hospitalize to ICU(intensive care unit) using a ventilator facing crisis of life
-Moderate illness : People who has shortness of breath or pneumonia
-Moderate illnessⅡ: People who needs oxygen apply
-Moderate illnessⅠ: People who doesn’t need oxygen apply
-Minor : People who can breathe on their own without problem even if it’s hard
If your SpO2 level measured under 93% by your pulse oximeter, consult to your doctor even with no symptoms.

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Self-isolation and Close Contact



【Q1】What precautions should be taken in self-isolation at home?


It is recommended to prepare in advance as no leaving your home during the self-isolation period. However, some local governments deliver a grocery package. And if you use delivery services, please devise a receiving method such as leaving the package in front of the door so as not to come into direct contact with them. Also, check your thermometer, including the remaining battery power.

【Q2】My municipality asked me for health observation during self-isolation


Each municipality uses different tools for health observation. If you use My HER-SYS, you need to register via a URL sent by SMS from public health center. Complete the sing up and input your health observations via smartphone or laptop. Note: You may receive a SMS before contact from a public health center.

【Q3】How can I end isolation?


【Symptomatic case】10 days passed when developed symptoms and passed 72 hours free from symptoms. Taking COVID-19 test twice after 24hours passed from symptoms free and get negative result is also valid.

【Asymptomatic case】After 7 days passed the date your specimen was collected. More than 6 days passed since your specimen was collected and testing twice (leave an interval of at least 24 hours) and both result are negative.

【Symptoms appear after negative】 We consider the day of onset as day 1 of infection because COVID-19 is considered to be contagious for 10 days after onset.

【Q3】How long family member needs quarantine?


We consider a family member as a close contact person. Stay home and quarantine for 7days after patient develops symptoms. During that period, stay away from people you live with, wash your hands, wear a well-fitting mask and sanitize the place you might touch, and dispose the garbage properly. Even after the period is over, you are encouraged to check your health and avoid social gathering until the patient is recovered.

【Q4】What is “Close contact”?


“Close contact” is someone who has been contact with an infected person (tested positive for COVID 19 via PCR testing, etc.) and meeting following conditions. The period starts from 2 days before the onset of symptoms or collected specimen until ending isolation.

-A person who lives with the patient
-A person who had long term contact with patient.(Aircraft: A person who was sitting front and back 2 rows for international or within 2 meters for domestic)
-A person who has examined, nursed or cared for the patient without appropriate infection
-A person who may have come into direct contact with contaminants such as airway secretions or bodily
-A person who has been in contact with the patient for more than 15 minutes without necessary infection prevention measures within touching distance (1meter)

Based on this condition, the public health center conducts interviews and makes a comprehensive judgment.

【Q5】What should I do if I am a “Close contact” ?


When the close contact tested positive, please take precaution to your health condition and take prevention of infection until the public health center judges who will be a close contact.

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Vaccines

【Q1】What are the effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccines approved in Japan?


The vaccines are effective in preventing the onset, infection and severe illness from COVID-19. Although the protection from infection and symptom onset may gradually decrease over time, it has been reported that the effectiveness in preventing serious symptoms remains comparatively high.

【Q2】 I had COVID-19 before. Should I still get the vaccine?


Yes, people infected with COVID-19 in the past can be vaccinated. At this point, two doses are given for primary vaccine series as usual.

【Q3】 Can I still get the vaccine if I am pregnant, breastfeeding, or planning to become pregnant?


Yes, you can get the vaccine. There have been no reports that the COVID-19 vaccines approved in Japan has any adverse effects on pregnancy, fetus, breast milk, or reproductive organs. Vaccination is recommended regardless of the time of pregnancy.

【Q4】 I have a chronic illness, can I get the vaccine?


Yes. Vaccination is recommended for people with pre-existing conditions and the elderly, as they are more susceptible to severe illness. If you have a strong side effects, please consult your family doctor as soon as possible.

【Q5】Why do we need a booster shot?


COVID-19 vaccines are highly effective in preventing the onset of illness, but it has been suggested that their effectiveness in preventing infection gradually declines as time passes. From the perspective of preventing the spread of infection and the development of severe disease, it is recommended that all people who have completed their primary vaccination series will be offered a booster shot.

【Q6】How effective are the booster shot?


The booster shot has the effect of increasing the effectiveness of infection prevention, prevention of severe disease, etc. compared to the case where no booster shot is given.

【Q7】Can I still get a first dose even booster shot started?


The free COVID-19 vaccination program is scheduled to continue until September 30th 2022. Within this period, you can get your first dose.

【Q8】Who is eligible for the booster dose?


From the perspective of preventing the spread of COVID-19, it is desirable to provide booster shot who have completed the primary series (1st and 2nd doses). At this moment, Pfizer's vaccine is available to people aged 18 years and older who have completed the primary vaccination series.

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Side Effects of vaccination

【Q1】What kind of symptoms possibly cause as side effects?


Pain at the injected site, fever, tiredness, headache, muscle or joint pain, chills, diarrhea may cause.

According to the survey results conducted in Japan,
- Most of these symptoms became intense the day after vaccination and subside within a few days.
- The most common symptom is pain at the injected site. More than 80% of the vaccinated individuals experienced this symptom on the next day.
- Fever, tiredness, and headache are more intense in the 2nd dose than in the 1st.
- In some cases, the Takeda/Moderna vaccine cause delayed skin reactions at the injected site, such as itchiness, swelling and redness.

【Q2】What should I do if I have a fever or pain after vaccination?

Drink plenty of fluids, such as water for fever. And fever medicine and painkillers can be effective. (In the cohort study, various medicines such as Acetaminophen, Loxoprofen, Ibuprofen were used. These are available in pharmacies.)

【Q3】What should I do if I have a itchiness or redness after vaccination?


Cooling and applying antihistamines or steroids will help relieve the itching.

【Q4】Who is most likely to have side effects?


People with a history of allergies may have a slightly stronger side effects. Pain at the injection site, swelling, fever, headache, and fatigue are immune reactions.

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