NHK has learned that the Japanese Association for Infectious Diseases has drawn up a set of guidelines on diagnosis of seasonal influenza and COVID-19.
The association compiled the guidelines to advise hospitals and clinics on how to deal with the diseases.
The two illnesses are said to have quite similar symptoms, so physicians may have difficulty distinguishing them in areas hit by outbreaks of both diseases.
The guidelines call for testing for both simultaneously in those areas as much as possible so coronavirus cases will not be overlooked.
They point out that if no coronavirus cases are reported within a prefecture, testing for the virus is not needed in principle, except for those who have visited areas with infections within the past two weeks.
But the guidelines say that in areas where untraceable coronavirus cases were reported within the past two weeks, tests for the virus are advised for all patients with a fever.
For children, the guidelines strongly recommend they are vaccinated against flu this coming winter as they are prone to catching the virus. The guidelines also say it is important for children to be tested for both flu and the coronavirus at the same time, if possible.
The association plans to release the guidelines on its website shortly.