A Marathon
Posted on 18th Jan 2021 by Bob Heffill

A marathon

This pandemic has turned into a real marathon. A marathon for people working hard on the front line, whose work load has increased enormously, for everyone having to stay at home, particularly those with young families, for the elderly,  and for those who love getting out and about, particularly those of us who love the outdoors and adventure travel.

I’ve been asked, many times, how Japan is coping with the pandemic. Well, the data indicates that there have been a relatively small number of cases of infection, and far fewer fatalities (3,791 as of 8 January). The cases have mainly been in the larger cities, such as Tokyo and Osaka, and amongst younger people. There has been an increase in infections in the last couple of weeks, however, and the government has been considering implementing a state of emergency. The news this morning reported:

‘The Tokyo metropolitan government on Monday reported 1,204 new cases of the coronavirus, down 388 from Sunday. The tally brought Tokyo’s cumulative total to 86,674.

The number (608 men and 596 women) is the result of 8,206 tests conducted on Jan 15.

By age group, the most number of cases were people in their 20s (303), followed by 206 in their 30s, 199 in their 40s, 130 in their 50s, 96 in their 60s, 71 in their 70s and 58 in their 80s. Also, 100 cases were younger than 20 (32 of whom were younger than 10), health officials said.

The number of infected people hospitalized with severe symptoms in Tokyo is 143, up five from Sunday, health officials said. The nationwide figure is 973.

Nationwide, the number of reported cases was 4,904. After Tokyo, the prefectures with the most cases were Kanagawa (957), Osaka (431), Chiba (363), Saitama (328), Fukuoka (204), Aichi (151), Hyogo (149), Hokkaido (125), Kyoto (110), Yamaguchi (88), Tochigi (84), Okinawa (67), Ibaraki (63), Gifu (46) and Nara (44).

Fifty-eight coronavirus-related deaths were reported nationwide.

Another question I’m asked is whether the Olympic Games will go ahead in July. Recent news reported that the Mayor of Toky, Koike, suggested a ‘simplified’ games may be necessary to avoid cancellation. A shorter marathon perhaps? I also read somewhere that athletes would be confined to the village. But, as with everything these days, there are many unknowns, and no-one can be sure of anything.

There were plans for tours for those attending last year’s Olympic Games. Those have been postponed, along with our other tours.

We were hopeful travel would be going again by late spring, possibly May, but even if the regulations permit travel, I’m sure it’ll take longer for travelers to regain their confidence, even if they’ve been vaccinated. Booking flights is usually done months in advance. So, I’ve feeling it might not be until the Games and beyond, possibly the autumn until we start to operate our trips again.

Japan has always been a relatively safe country to visit, in every aspect. I hope those who are perhaps thinking of a holiday in Japan this year bear that in mind when wondering how safe it’ll be.

“Always concentrate on how far you’ve come, rather than how far you have left to go”

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