COVID-19: “Cardboard Box Hotel” For Hundreds of Passengers At Tokyo Narita Airport

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Watching various countries adapt to the global pandemic known as COVID-19, has been fascinating. Some countries have adapted extremely well, while others…not so much.

I’ve been particularly interested in Japan because I have several flights to/from Japan over the next month.

Note: We are all aware of the challenges of canceling flights and I haven’t been able to cancel all of my flights but that’s a blog for another time.

NARITAS NEW “HOTEL”

Asian governments that have now largely brought their outbreaks under control are increasingly concerned about local transmission originating from imported cases as travelers arrive from outbreak hotspots in Europe and North America.

To limit the possible spread of coronavirus, the Japanese government, specifically, has announced that upon landing, all arriving passengers are to be tested for COVID-19 and then they must stay (& sleep) at the airport.

The Japanese government additionally prohibits arriving passengers from using public transport, connecting on domestic flights, and even taking taxis (but Narita is extremely far from downtown Tokyo and costs upwards of $300USD one-way so does anyone really catch a taxi!?) 🤔

Passengers can only leave Narita with friends or family in a private vehicle but travelers that cannot be picked up are still barred from catching public transport or taxis.

Consequently, the baggage claim area at Tokyo Narita airport has become home for several hundred arriving international passengers.

Passengers are sleeping in makeshift cardboard box accommodations, provided by the Japanese Government, until travelers can (hopefully) return a negative test result for coronavirus. The test takes approximately 2 days and cost 15,000 yen ($140 USD).

Provided a traveler returns a negative test result, they are free to leave Narita to rent a car or seek other transport; seeing as they are still barred from using public transport.

Some passengers have said sleeping has been difficult since the lights remain on 24-7. The open-air beds have partitions at alternating corners, but are mostly exposed and beverages and snacks were provided.

FINAL STAMP

This is a unique response to the the pandemic. I understand the theory behind it but I think this policy has the potential to make things much worse.

For example, if a passenger does have COVID-19, and they are quarantined in a large room (e.g. baggage claim for 48 hours), I suspect they will have a much larger problem on their hands as that one individual could infect many more.

Japan is one of my favorite countries in the world. The country is unlike any other country and offers so much. I don’t have all the details about medical care that may be on sight but I’ll be interested to see how this process works out for them.

What do you make of this approach? Are you aware that the US does not screen anyone arriving from another country?

HT: Kazuki

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