Some US bases in Japan offer free coronavirus tests for troops heading home for holidays
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TOKYO – Some U.S. military bases in Japan are providing coronavirus screenings for service members, their families and civilian employees heading home for the holidays, and beyond.
Medical centers at Naval Air Facility Atsugi, Sasebo Naval Base, Yokota Air Base and Kadena Air Base are offering the tests, which some U.S. states require prior to entry. While tests are free for active-duty service members, there may be fees for civilians, contractors and retirees based on each installation’s policy.
Alaska, Hawaii and Maryland require proof of a negative coronavirus test at least 72 hours before entry; Pennsylvania requires the same proof for anyone age 11 and above, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website as of Tuesday.
Yokosuka Naval Hospital is offering tests only for active-duty service members and their families, according to a spokesperson for the medical center.
NAF Atsugi, 26 miles south of Tokyo, recommends travelers contact their respective installation’s clinics at least two days before the desired testing date and provide copies of their travel itinerary and leave request forms. While the pre-screenings are just in time for holiday travel, some bases will be extending them into next year.
“In support of Team Kadena’s ongoing efforts to protect not only local communities but also off-island populations, pre-med screenings will be conducted for the foreseeable future for areas that require them, not just during the holidays,” Kadena spokesman Tech. Sgt. Daniel Fernandez said Wednesday by email.
The U.S. Army Japan headquarters at Camp Zama will not provide pre-travel screenings, spokesperson Kevin Krejcarek said in a phone call Thursday.
Negative coronavirus tests, even where required for travel, do not preclude service members, their families, contractors or civilian employees from mandatory quarantines when returning from overseas travel, he said.
Marine Corps Installations Pacific and III Marine Expeditionary Force did not respond to Stars and Stripes’ inquiries.
Japanese public health authorities administer the tests at Narita and Haneda international airports near Tokyo, but they aren’t cheap. The cost at Narita is $325 with an appointment or $465 without one. The cost at Haneda is $firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: @ThisEarlGirl