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.

Useful resources for foreign residents and visitors in Japan

  • NEW! AMDA Medical Information Center's "Multilingual Consultation Service Regarding COVID-19"
    (April 10~May 20, 2020)
    - Available in English, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on weekends and national holidays. Also available in Chinese, Korean, Tagalog, Thai, Spanish, Vietnamese and Portuguese on designated weekdays. Check schedule here.
    - Available in English and Chinese on weekdays only, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

  • Tokyo Metropolitan Government's COVID-19 info

  • Tokyo Metropolitan Government's hotline
    - Available in English, Chinese, Korean and Japanese, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
    Available via fax for those with hearing impairments

  • Japan National Tourism Organization's "Guide for when you are feeling ill"
    - Multilingual clinic/hospital search available in English, Korean, Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese, Japanese

  • JNTO's "Japan Visitor Hotline"
    - Available in English, Chinese, Korean and Japanese 24 hours a day
    (from overseas)

  • Japan's health ministry hotline
    - Available in Japanese only, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

  • World Health Organization's "Q&A on coronaviruses"