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Kashima Stadium opens as coronavirus test centre

Kashima Stadium, the home of Japan Professional Football League (J-League) Division 1 side Kashima Antlers FC, is operating as a drive-through testing site for Covid-19.

A maximum of 20 PCR swab tests per day will be carried out at the site which is expected to run for the next two months.

The stadium, which is the first J-League facility being utilised as a testing site, was originally built in 1993 by Ibaraki Prefecture before a major redevelopment was carried out to host the 2002 FIFA World Cup matches.

The Antlers have been the venue’s designated operator since 2006.

All J-League matches have been suspended since the end of February until at least June 7, and the league’s chairman Mitsuru Murai last month offered the Japanese Government use of the club’s facilities including the training grounds and offices.

According to the Ibaraki Shimbun Cross Eye news media, the Kashima Stadium testing site will be used for patients of the Rokko region whom the doctors recommend PCR tests for.

Five south-east Ibaraki cities, namely Kashima, Itako, Kamisu, Namegata, and Hokota, comprise the Rokko region.

Once a diagnosis is done, the Itako Public Health Centre will select the patients who can visit the stadium testing site between 1pm and 3pm on weekdays.

Both the national government and Ibaraki prefecture will partially fund the cost of the testing while the aforementioned Rokko cities will cover the rest and also provide medical personnel from their regional hospitals and medical clinics.

Fumiaki Koizumi, president of Kashima Antlers Football Club said:

We will work closely with the Kashima Medical Association, who will be the main operator of the testing site, hospitals and medical clinics of the Rokko region and the five cities comprising the region, all of whom are our hometowns, and hopefully things will improve. The club is willing to cooperate all the way until we regain the way of life that we once thought was normal, the way football was part of our everyday life.

Image: Kashima Antlers

Article provided by The Stadium Hub