by Andrew Walden
Governor Ige’s 14-day quarantine announcement may feel like a health precaution, but it's really a tourism marketing plan.
After a few days of the usual suspects all screaming hysterically, Ige on Saturday March 21, 2020, announced that travelers arriving in Hawaii after 12:01 a.m. on Thursday, March 26, 2020 will have to be quarantined for 14 days.
Of course, “Ige’s move will shut the flow of visitors to the islands.”
This is actually the fourth de-facto Hawaii travel ban of the COVID season.
The first came February 2, 2020, when “All scheduled direct flights from China to Hawaii were suspended because of the coronavirus outbreak.”
The second came February 26, 2020, when “Hawaiian Airlines suspended service to South Korea due to spike in coronavirus cases.”
The third came March 15, 2020, when Australia and New Zealand imposed a 14-day quarantine on all returning travelers.
Ige’s quarantine effectively shuts down all travel from the US mainland, Canada, and Japan.
Do you see the pattern?
Each de-facto ban came as Corona peaked in the affected area.
Timing is everything.
Hawaii Corona Virus cases have been rising additively (not exponentially) and now stand at 56. The vast majority of those are Hawaii residents who traveled to infected areas. Only seven are tourists. We have no deaths and only three hospitalizations. There are only the slightest indications of local transmission.
By shutting off travel, Hawaii reduces its Corona Virus load just as the US mainland is peaking.
In a few weeks, Hawaii will be the world’s best Corona-free tourism destination.
And Japan will be the one country on Earth which will have recovered sufficiently from Corona to be exempted from Hawaii quarantine requirements.
Bloomberg March 18, 2020, explains:
Japan was one of the first countries outside of China hit by the coronavirus and now it’s one of the least-affected among developed nations. That’s puzzling health experts.
Unlike China’s draconian isolation measures, the mass quarantine in much of Europe and big U.S. cities ordering people to shelter in place, Japan has imposed no lockdown. While there have been disruptions caused by school closures, life continues as normal for much of the population. Tokyo rush hour trains are still packed and restaurants remain open….
Japan’s initial slow response to the virus, its handling of the Diamond Princess cruise ship -- where about one in five people aboard became infected while it was quarantined in Yokohama -- and the decision not to initially block travel from China left the nation open to criticism it could become home to a “second Wuhan.” Steps taken to contain the virus -- such as shutting schools and calling off large events -- now look tame in comparison to what others have done….
But as of March 18, Japan has only had a little more than 900 confirmed cases -- excluding the cruise ship. The U.S., France and Germany were all above 7,000 cases and Italy was nearing 36,000. Neighbor South Korea, which tested aggressively amid a surge of confirmed infections from late February, was at about 8,500 cases but its new infections are now tapering off….
In Tokyo, among the world’s most densely packed metropolitan areas, cases made up 0.0008% of the population. The northern main island of Hokkaido, the skiing destination that was Japan’s worst-hit area, is already lifting a state of emergency as new cases have slowed….
Don’t lay off your Japanese-speaking employees. You are about to need them.