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railsquid

Travel to Japan and coronavirus (Covid-19)

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railsquid

General information for anyone planning to visit Japan in the near future (as the situation has gone from "vague reports about infections in a market in Wuhan" to "entire Italian towns regions countries being quarantined" in the space of a few weeks).

 

Important: this thread is for questions/information directly relating to travel to Japan and how it might be affected. *Please no general discussion/speculation about the virus in this thread*  - anything not relevant will be removed.

 

Useful source of official-ish up-to-date advice and info:  https://www.japan.travel/en/news/coronavirus/

 

IMPORTANT: be aware some countries are now refusing or restricting entry to anyone who has been in Japan recently. The Japanese Foreign Ministry maintains a list of countries with restrictions for Japanese citizens and travellers coming from Japan here: https://www.anzen.mofa.go.jp/covid19/pdfhistory_world.html (as of 2019-03-17, 56 countries have full or partial entry bans, a further 84 allow entry with restrictions). Link is in Japanese but seems updated regularly.

 

The Japanese government will probably requie all travellers entering from Europe to undergo 14 days quarantine, and will be extending the regions where entry will be refused if non-residents have travelled there; official announcement will be on March 18th (source:  https://headlines.yahoo.co.jp/videonews/ann?a=20200317-00000016-ann-pol ).

 

General notes:

 

  • Face masks are in short supply, bring your own
  • Same applies to hand sanitizer, apparently
  • public events of all kind are being cancelled
  • localised transport disruption highly likely if infection discovered

 

Assume all tourism attractions, museums and other places of touristic interest as well as large-scale public events are likely to be closed until around March 15th; as of March 11th, the government is requesting a 10-day extension to this (see e.g. here). Very brief incomplete list:

 

 

If planning to go anywhere, check first and don't be surprised if it's not open. Also don't be surprised if there's no notice in English; look for phrases beginning with "臨時休...".

Edited by railsquid
update, 2020-03-17 (2)
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Tony Galiani

Thanks for the info.  I had been thinking about travel to Japan around May but am still uncertain.  Last week I discussed this with our Emergency Services Director (otherwise known as Dr. Doom).  She advised me that travel was likely okay but that I might have to self-isolate for 14 days after returning.  Not sure I would like to do that.  So still up in the air about this.  Lots of uncertainty now, not just about Japan but about travel anywhere.

 

Tony Galiani

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railsquid
1 hour ago, Tony Galiani said:

I might have to self-isolate for 14 days after returning. 

 

The way things are going, if you're really lucky and shared the wrong enclosed space with the wrong person, you'll end up being isolated for 14 or more days before returning.

 

(In some alternative universe I was due to spend some time in northern Italy around now, but my advance procrastination skills have luckily ruled that out...)

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kami_illy

Hmm. In the end, it seems like you can't really predict where the next outbreak will happen...

 

We are going to Japan in May. We'll see what will happen until then. Having to bring you own masks seems funny/weird though (aren't they all produced in China anyways?). Good thing with all the drama about the virus is, that ticket prizes to Japan seem to be going down now. 

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Tony Galiani

After I posted earlier, I went and checked the US Centers for Disease Control website.  On Saturday (February 22nd) the CDC raised the Travel Advisory to Level 2 - Exercise Increased Caution.  There had been a warning about a Measles outbreak the last time I checked but that seems to have been removed with only a slightly lengthy warning about

Covid-19.

I agree with disturbman in that I would be worried about making it back home if the situation worsens.  I work at a university with significant international connections so this is a major concern.

 

Tony Galiani

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railsquid

Well, seems like Japan is doing the best to shut itself down for the next two weeks, even Chiba Rodentland will be closed; see updates in top post.

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railsquid

The headline is not quite correct as the final decision is down to the local authorities, and some have announced they will close when they see fit, not because the central government says so. Not so relevant for travel to Japan anyway.

 

However Hokkaido has declared a "state of emergency" and requests that people stay at home this weekend except for essential travel to stop it spreading.  Public transport will however be running as normal.

 

In other news, there has been a big run on toilet paper and tissues, which is traditional during a major crisis (last happened in 2011) but not particularly rational. Face masks remain as rare as hens' teeth.

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tridentalx

I'm heading there at the end of June. Hopefully will have settled down a bit by then.

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Sascha

I canceled my trip for end of March. Going during xmas and new years.

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chadbag

I have two sets of friends that have tickets for the April school vacation (which is the first full week of April).  We'll have to see how this plays out but they are not sure as it is not that far in the future and this still seems to be picking up steam.

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kami_illy

I hope the situation there stabilizes until/in April. Wouldn't like to cancel my trip in May. Or being there but not being able to do anything bc all places are closed down. 

Somehow i think that in Japan people are disciplined enough to deal with the situation (heard stories of infected italiens traveling the country though the were quarantined... not sure how much drama was added to these stories by the media outlet). 

 

Let's see how it continues and hope for the best. 

 

 

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Tony Galiani

One concern may not be obvious but could be a problem - some countries might not allow immediate return home to those visiting areas with the virus.  I was hoping to go to Japan in May but was advised that I might not be allowed to return to work immediately when I got back into the country.  My workplace indicated that I might have to self-isolate for 14 days after returning to the USA but before returning to work.  (While I actually might not mind an extra 14 days off, not sure that would be appreciated by my team!)  And at this stage, I am not sure what restrictions the government may impose on those returning from overseas.

 

Just something to think about as you consider travel.  I have a trip booked for the end of March (to Bonaire) and am not planning to cancel a this point.  But I guess the situation will be in flux for the foreseeable future.

 

Tony Galiani

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beakaboy
On 2/24/2020 at 4:22 PM, railsquid said:
  • Face masks are in short supply, bring your own

 

Face masks are a big help , but are not much use if you encounter someone with the virus as it can still enter the body via the eyes. I guess part of the reason for shutting down public gathering areas

Edited by railsquid
remove excessive quoting

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railsquid
7 hours ago, Tony Galiani said:

One concern may not be obvious but could be a problem - some countries might not allow immediate return home to those visiting areas with the virus. 

 

It's equally possible that might happen entering Japan (or any other country) if you say have the good luck to be seated close to someone who gets picked up for showing the wrong symptoms.

 

 

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Fenway Park

Trip to Japan postponed until 2021/2.

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railsquid
On 2/29/2020 at 1:43 AM, Tony Galiani said:

One concern may not be obvious but could be a problem - some countries might not allow immediate return home to those visiting areas with the virus.  I was hoping to go to Japan in May but was advised that I might not be allowed to return to work immediately when I got back into the country.  My workplace indicated that I might have to self-isolate for 14 days after returning to the USA but before returning to work.  (While I actually might not mind an extra 14 days off, not sure that would be appreciated by my team!)  And at this stage, I am not sure what restrictions the government may impose on those returning from overseas.

 

Also bear in mind some third countries may start restricting access for people who have been in Japan; India has just done this, so if you've been to Japan since the start of February, say goodbye to any hope of going to India.

 

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disturbman
Posted (edited)

Yes, that’s what I was saying in the post that was removed. The greater risk is entry and travel restrictions. 

 

As you noted, India has restricted access from people that have been to Japan as well as China, Iran, Italy, South Korea and Singapore. Globally, flights to Iran, Italy, and China have been severely reduced or suspended. I think Lufthansa has cancelled all flights to Italy.

 

Tellingly, experts in the U.K. are saying that the country is moving from the “contain” to  the “delay” phase. Which means other countries in Europe, like France or Germany, are probably fully in the delay phase and will see a surge of cases in the coming week, probably ending up with flight restrictions, school closures, etc.

 

I am fully expecting more flights restrictions and suspension as the virus spreads through Europe. Some airlines have been waving their cancellation fees.

 

I would be cautious booking any trip at the moment. The situation is still too volatile and unpredictable.

 

edit: How is the situation in Japan? I have only been monitoring Europe.

Edited by disturbman

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railsquid
2 hours ago, disturbman said:

edit: How is the situation in Japan? I have only been monitoring Europe.

 

- as of today,  people arriving from China and South Korea will be quarantined for 14 days (it's not clear how that will affect people who merely transited in either of those countries)

- temporary legislation with measures for dealing with the emergency will be passed soon

- from Friday March 6th, covid-19 tests will be covered by health insurance and the co-pay covered by the government

- earlier this evening my local supermarket had reasonable stocks of rice and tissue paper, still no toilet paper (but there is no real shortage of that)

 

My personal impression (and remember, this is my own personal handwavy speculation) is that testing in Japan is very reactive, if they ramped it up to what say South Korea is doing, I bet the infection figures would be a lot higher.

 

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nah00
2 hours ago, railsquid said:

My personal impression (and remember, this is my own personal handwavy speculation) is that testing in Japan is very reactive, if they ramped it up to what say South Korea is doing, I bet the infection figures would be a lot higher.

 

The WHO shares your sentiment as well as they are emphasizing proactive measures to extend containment as long as possible and that the time for being reactive has passed. 

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Tony Galiani

My university has just restricted travel to any country with a CDC (US Center for Disease Control) rating of Level 2 or above.  Right now Japan is at Level 2 so that definitely rules out any chances for me to travel there in the near future.  I am greatly disappointed but have to be realistic especially as I seem to be getting older and closer in age to the high risk groups.

Hopefully this outbreak will subside soon.

 

Tony Galiani

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railsquid

Do also remember it's not just about you and your individual risk, but also the public health risk of unwittingly becoming a carrier and helping spread it far and wide.

 

In other news I ventured out as far as Shinjuku for the first time in a couple of weeks (have been stuck at home fighting a mystery cold (!))  and things are quieter than is normal for a Friday night, but far from dead (the "deadest" I have ever seen Tokyo is the week after the 2011 earthquake). A lot of shops, restaurants etc. are however closing earlier than normal (but not like ridiculously early or anything). On the plus side, no tourist groups blocking the pavements.

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chadbag

A friend and his wife and son were planning on going to Japan the first full week in April, but have canceled their trip for now.  They used Delta miles to get the tickets.  Hopefully Delta allowed them to cancel without issue given the circumstances.

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cteno4

Staff Note:

 

Please limit the discussion here about travel to and from japan and not the greater issues of corona virus situation elsewhere and/or in general. The staff does not feel the forum is the best place to discuss this publicly other than things specifically germane to the forum like travel to/from Japan or delays in manufacturing, etc.

 

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