Photo/Illutration Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike inspects an oxygen station in Tokyo’s Kita Ward on Dec. 25 that will also provide “antibody cocktail” treatment and dialysis to anyone with the novel coronavirus. (Reina Kitamura)

A fifth makeshift oxygen station, along with nearly 200 free testing centers, is being set up by the Tokyo metropolitan government to combat the Omicron variant of the novel coronavirus as a precaution against a full-fledged outbreak in the capital.

Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike inspected the facility in the Akabane district of Kita Ward on Dec. 25. Patients displaying mild symptoms will be able to receive oxygen and “antibody cocktail” treatment, as well as dialysis.

The facility will go into operation with 53 beds from Dec. 28. Ten beds will be allocated to patients requiring dialysis.

The number of beds can be expanded to up to 150, depending on the spread of the virus, according to metropolitan government officials.

“As Tokyo has confirmed a community-based infection with Omicron, patients who also need to receive dialysis will surely find this facility highly assuring,” Koike said.

Tokyo already operates oxygen stations in Chuo Ward, Nerima Ward and Chofu city in western Tokyo. One in Shibuya Ward is due to resume operations from Dec. 28 after it went out of service when the last wave of COVID-19 cases subsided.

Free PCR testing was being offered as of Dec. 25. PCR, or antigen tests, will become available at 180 locations, including drug stores, from Dec. 27 to Jan. 31.

The metropolitan government is aiming for up to 30,000 tests to be done each day.

The program is designed to allow residents worried about infection due to their proximity to COVID-19 patients and workers whose job requires frequent interactions with others to detect new cases early on.

If they fill out forms at a testing center, they can get tested without booking in advance.

(This story was compiled from reports by Yoshitaka Unezawa and Kayoko Sekiguchi.)