Hotline service to begin for foreigners in Japan for coronavirus inquiries

The Japan Medical Association said Wednesday that a medical support nonprofit organization will set up a multilingual hotline to help foreigners in Japan for inquiries regarding the new coronavirus.

The AMDA Medical Information Center will operate the service in eight languages between 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. from Friday to May 20. English will be accessible every day, Chinese on weekdays, while other languages including Korean, Spanish and Vietnamese will be available on designated days, the JMA said in a release. AMDA stands for the Association of Medical Doctors of Asia.

The association will give financial assistance to the information center, which provides medical support for non-Japanese speakers, a JMA official said.

The AMDA center will provide information to foreigners such as for what symptoms they should see a doctor, and where to go if they believe they are infected, under the guidelines released by the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare.

Since January, phone calls to the center have surged for inquiries regarding the coronavirus, the JMA official said.

Although the health ministry offers a toll-free phone number, it is available only in Japanese. The ministry asks foreigners to call their prefectural governments as they ought to have a consultation call center. However, only Tokyo and major prefectures such as Osaka, Aichi and Fukuoka have multi-language services available.


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