New information about coronavirus-related travel restrictions has been posted since this was written. Please reload the home page of the blog for the latest update.
I am deeply concerned (as I’m sure some of my followers are) about the coronavirus outbreak that has been spreading across many parts of the world now. I thought it would be useful to share a few updates with you when it comes to the current situation of travel in Japan.
I don’t plan to post any updates too often on this, so I would highly suggest online news sources for the latest information. One I highly recommend is NHK World-Japan, whose English web site has a dedicated page with all of the latest news updates on the coronavirus as it affects Japan and other parts of the world.
The information is accurate, to the best of my knowledge, at the time of publication (Morning of February 27, 2020, Eastern Time) and is subject to the site-wide disclaimer.
- There are no urgent travel advisories or warnings from major countries when it comes to visiting Japan. However, some countries and regions in Asia and the Pacific are banning entries from foreigners who have visited Japan in the last two weeks.
- Many of the world’s major countries and territories have advised an increased level of caution when traveling around Japan due to the outbreak. Some organizations, like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC (the national public health body of the United States), have recommended that the elderly, and those with pre-existing/chronic medical conditions, defer nonessential travel to Japan.
- This week, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe requested that all elementary schools and high schools in Japan close for the month of March, and that public gatherings and events be cancelled, postponed or scaled back over the next few weeks in order to contain the coronavirus outbreak. This means that many tourists sites in Japan are subject to closure or reduced hours. Group tours and events such as public conventions, religious services and concerts may be subject to cancellation or alteration.
- Some major sports have already begun to either postpone their events, or close events to the general public. The Sumo Association is supposed to decide by March 1 whether or not to go ahead with the March Grand Sumo Tournament in Osaka.
Here are some preventative actions you can take for your health, as suggested by the CDC:
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
- If you are sick, stay home.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Use a regular household cleaning spray or wipe to disinfect frequently touched objects, such as door handles.
- Clean your hands often by washing them with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at 60%–95% alcohol. Use soap and water if your hands are visibly dirty.
- Wash your hands after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after coughing, sneezing or blowing your nose.
The most common symptoms of coronavirus are fever, and signs of a lower respiratory illness such as coughing or shortness of breath. However, some cases of coronavirus are reported to have been diagnosed without any symptoms shown at all.
If you have been in Japan (or another area affected by the outbreak) in the last 14 days and show symptoms of coronavirus, inform your health professional right away. Consider visiting your doctor or an urgent care facility, and only go to a hospital if directed to do so.
Allow increased travel time when traveling internationally to and from Japan, in order to allow for more stringent health checks. If you land in Japan and do not feel well, report yourself to Quarantine or Health Consultation immediately (this is the first step of arrival procedures into the country, before immigration checks).
I’ll update this post only if there are updates in the very near term, otherwise please consult NHK World or your local media service for the latest updates.
The coronavirus illustration was published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, part of the United States Department of Health and Human Services. It is therefore public domain pursuant to Title 17, Section 105 of the United States Code.