Mark comments

Posted in: When the Games went viral: Past Olympic health scares See in context

I've mentioned to a few people that I can remember how bad 1968 was around the world and wondered if 2020 would be considered worse when people look back at many years from now. The way the currently year is going, it will probably be 2020.

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Posted in: Japan may re-open borders to travelers from Thailand, Vietnam, Australia, NZ See in context

I'm writing from New Zealand and, ironically, I should have been in Takayama today on a month long Japanese trip.

It's all fine and dandy to say you might open your borders to Kiwis etc. but the reality is that there is 0 chance of Kiwis being able to travel to Japan any time soon. You aren't covid-19 free; we think we are. The people here do not want to take any chances of reinfecting the country which means that except for Kiwis who are currently stuck overseas, nobody is allowed into the country. Those Kiwis who do return from being stuck overseas the last couple of months face a mandatory, supervised 14 day lockdown quarantine at a hotel near the Auckland airport; no leaving the room for 14 days except for a brief supervised fresh air trip in the hotel grounds once a day. That's it.

Currently anybody returning from overseas is accommodated at gov't expense but it is expected that going forward somebody travelling voluntarily overseas for a holiday and then returning would have to pay for his 14 day hotel stay in Auckland entirely at their own expense. This will be our future until other countries are declared covid-19 free or a vaccine is developed.

So would I want to risk travelling to Japan knowing we are virus free and you aren't and that's what I would have to look forward to on returning to New Zealand? Not a chance. Would others? Except for those travelling for essential purposes (e.g. business maybe), no.

So please don't kid yourselves that you will be likely getting tourists from New Zealand (and Australia for that matter where the situation is similar) anytime soon. Get rid of the virus in Japan. Lock down your borders to countries that still have the virus. Prove it to us that you have done the right thing. Then maybe we can talk.

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Posted in: Transportation, tourism sectors hit hard by virus outbreak See in context


Virtually all insurance companies have a standard clause that excludes pandemics OR if they didn't exclude pandemics as a matter of course, announced on January 22nd (pretty much worldwide) that they would NOT be providing coverage for coronavirus going forward. I've already read of one intrepid soul who contacted company after company asking if it was possible to pay an extra premium for coronavirus coverage and was told in every case that it was not possible to get coverage.

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Posted in: Transportation, tourism sectors hit hard by virus outbreak See in context

I've got a trip booked for May/June to Japan but as it stands now, there is no way my wife and I will be able to come. It is now impossible to get insurance to cover coronavirus. Yes, there are two Japanese insurers that might cover it for us but I can only apply AFTER I arrive in Japan and only IF they are still covering coronavirus after I arrive and even then they ONLY cover medical costs and the cover is very limited. They wouldn't cover me for travel disruption like other travel insurance normally does. e.g. what if I get caught up in a quarantine and miss my flight home? As it stands, we'd be stuck with having to book replacement flights at a cost of a few thousands dollars.

So sorry Japan, unless somebody can come up with a realistic way of covering tourists against coronavirus both for medial AND for travel disruptions (i.e. like normal travel insurance), the trip won't take place for me or for thousands of others no doubt.

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Posted in: U.S. considering new restrictions on travelers from Japan, S Korea: CNN See in context

US VP Mike Pence just gave press conference giving latest travel restrictions. It essentially bans travellers from Iran (Iranians were already banned of course!) and advises Americans not to go to affected regions in South Korea and Italy. No mention whatsoever of Japan for good reason. Situation in Japan nothing at all like what has been going on it China, Iran, South Korea and Italy.

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