Japan's health ministry on Friday unveiled a list of more than 10,000 medical clinics accepting new patients for online diagnoses in an effort to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus among doctors and patients.

In online meetings with patients, doctors provide recommendations and diagnoses remotely through technology such as smartphone screens. The method is said to be effective in protecting the medical system from the dangers of increased virus infections in health facilities.

The Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare said it will update the list of clinics providing telemedicine for first-time patients as it receives reports from local governments across the country.

Amid the coronavirus pandemic, the ministry has modified its stance that the first consultation with each patient should be conducted face-to-face. The change is a temporary measure until the pandemic is over.

Those seeking a diagnosis need to make reservations by phone or online after searching available clinics in the ministry's list.

Online treatment is targeted at ordinary patients as well as coronavirus patients who are asymptomatic or showing mild symptoms. After receiving an online diagnosis from a doctor and phone guidance from a pharmacist, patients can receive prescription drugs through home delivery services.

The health ministry's website is here