Upon arrival at Hong Kong Worldwide Airport on Sunday, after disembarking immediately onto the tarmac we have been taken to a quarantine space on the decrease degree of the airport.
There we underwent a number of well being and safety checks. My temperature was taken, I stuffed out an in depth questionnaire indicating I had not traveled to China, Italy, South Korea, or different coronavirus hotspots.
Two quarantine officers gave me a guidelines of directions for after I left the airport, together with that I take my temperature twice every day and instantly report any irregular signs to the Division of Well being.
If I used to be to land in Hong Kong right this moment, it could be even stricter.
The native authorities introduced this week that anybody arriving from a international nation is required to self-quarantine for 2 weeks, and can doubtless be issued an digital monitoring bracelet that can alert the authorities in the event that they go away their dwelling or lodge.
To this point, Hong Kong’s intense measures look like containing the unfold of the virus.
Past the airport, it is laborious to identify somebody in Hong Kong not carrying a masks. The town clearly realized painful classes from the SARS outbreak of 2003, when some 300 Hong Kong residents died.
Hong Kong acted early closing faculties, public libraries and museums, and urging folks to do business from home, approach again in February when it had comparatively few instances. Whereas the federal government did not go as far as to shut bars and eating places, when the virus arrived in Hong Kong many individuals took it upon themselves to remain dwelling and keep away from crowds.
No person is taking any possibilities. In Tokyo it is very completely different.
After I arrived at Narita airport in Japan this week our airplane pulled as much as the gate as typical.
I walked freely by way of the airport, greater than 500 meters to the quarantine workplace the place about 10 quarantine officers swiftly tried to course of all people who got here from my flight.
No person took my temperature, though I did stroll previous a thermal digicam scanning for elevated physique temperatures. But it surely was a chilly night and lots of passengers have been bundled up in coats that would have hindered the digicam’s capability to get an correct studying.
My quarantine officer gave me kinds to register English requesting that I stay in my dwelling for 14 days, verify my temperature every day, and keep away from public transportation.
These have been merely requests, and are usually not being enforced. I’m following the steered protocol, however there may be nothing to cease me from going wherever I please.
Different international locations have declared a state of emergency and gone into lockdown, however Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has stated the scenario in Japan doesn’t but warrant his use of emergency powers.
In Tokyo, whereas many faculties are closed, some massive gatherings are canceled, and an unprecedented variety of persons are working from dwelling, most bars and eating places are open, numerous persons are utilizing crowded public transport, and fogeys nonetheless take their youngsters exterior to play, often with out masks. There may be loads of bathroom paper on grocery store cabinets.
In explaining why Japan isn’t on lockdown, Abe factors to Japan’s comparatively small variety of confirmed instances, in comparison with different international locations.
It is true the island nation of 125 million folks has 873 confirmed instances, in comparison with 31,506 in Italy, 16,169 in Iran and eight,413 in South Korea.
However there’s a key distinction between Japan and different nations with a skyrocketing an infection depend: Japan is testing a tiny fraction of individuals in comparison with many different international locations.
By March 17, Japan examined simply 14,525 folks, based on the Ministry of Well being, though a few of these folks had been examined a number of occasions. In contrast, South Korea — a rustic that has managed to stabilize an enormous outbreak — can take a look at about 15,000 folks a day.
Japanese officers have stated the nation will ramp up its testing capability to eight,000 folks per day by the top of the month.
For an growing older society, a major and fast unfold of coronavirus might have a devastating impression.
Widespread testing is the one approach to know for certain if the calm in Tokyo is a real image of the coronavirus scenario in Japan — or whether it is really the calm earlier than the storm.