How has the Covid-19 coronavirus affected Tokyo and Japan? To be honest, it hasn’t been the happiest or most relaxing time. According to the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, 1,598 positive cases (minus uncomfirmed cases and those from charter flights and cruise ships) have been confirmed in Japan as of April 2.
Nevertheless, we’re doing our best to protect ourselves and our loved ones from the virus by spending time inside. Whether you’re just passing through Japan, or living here for the long haul, remember to wash your hands, don’t touch your face and practice social distancing (staying two metres or more away from another person).
If you’re not feeling well, or if there’s an emergency, the Japan National Tourism Organization has set up a 24-hour coronavirus hotline for tourists, available in English, Chinese and Korean. Call 050 3816 2787 within Japan, or +81 50 3816 2787 from overseas.
With so many air routes suspended and flights to and from Japan significantly reduced, Japan Post will temporarily stop accepting international airmail delivery from 153 countries from April 2.
On April 1, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced that the government will be sending out two washable, reusable cloth face masks per household, in a bid to reduce demand for disposable paper masks.
As the number of new Covid-19 coronavirus cases in Tokyo continues to climb, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government announced on April 1 that it will be extending the closure of public buildings and the cancellation of city-run events until May 6.
Japan will ban entry from 73 nations and regions starting Friday April 3.
Tokyo governor Yuriko Koike held a press conference yesterday (March 30) urging Tokyo citizens to continue to stay home as much as possible. Koike advised people to abstain from all nightlife activities including going out to bars, clubs, karaoke joints and live music venues, in a bid to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
The cherry blossoms may be in peak bloom, but officials have decided to close the following Tokyo parks from Saturday March 28 until Sunday April 12: Rikugien, Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden and Kinuta Park.
Shibuya 109, Magnet, and certain locations of Lumine, Takshimaya and Parco will be closed the weekend of March 28.
Governor Yuriko Koike held a press conference at 8pm on March 25 to formally ask Tokyo citizens to refrain from all non-urgent outings this Saturday and Sunday (March 28 and 29). The request is a preventative measure to fight the coronavirus outbreak which has put a number of cities around the globe on lockdown.
The Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics and Paralympics, which are originally set to begin in July this year, will now be postponed due to the escalating Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic.
Tokyo governor Yuriko Koike insists people practice self-restraint and cooperate to avoid spreading the virus. As The Japan Times reported: ‘“It is possible that depending on developments, we may need to take strong measures such as a so-called lockdown of the city,” Koike told a news conference. “We must, in any case, avoid that. Therefore, I want to ask all of the people of Tokyo for your further cooperation.”’
On Monday March 23, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced travellers arriving in Japan from the United States of America are asked to self-quarantine for 14 days in their home or hotel and avoid public transportation. This will be effective from Thursday March 26 to the end of April.
Japan urges travellers to avoid unnecessary travel to the United States. The United States now has a Global Level 4 Health Advisory - Do Not Travel warning. Americans currently travelling abroad should return to the United States or prepare to stay abroad indefinitely.
Starting from this Saturday March 21 until the end of April 2020, all travellers coming from Egypt, Iran and all of Europe, including the United Kingdom, are asked to self quarantine for 14 days. They are also being asked to refrain from taking public transportation.
Even though the original plan was to temporarily close popular venues until March 15 to avoid the spread of the virus, most have decided to extend the closure. Big name attractions including Tokyo Disney Resort (until beginning of April), teamLab Borderless (until further notice) and Universal Studios Japan in Osaka (until March 29) are all staying closed for now.
Major department stores have adjusted their opening days and hours to slow the spread of the virus and reduce the risk to their employees.
Two cherry blossom festivals, one along the Nakameguro River and the other in Ueno Park, have been cancelled to lower the chance of the virus spreading. However, Covid-19 coronavirus can’t cancel the flowers altogether. Here are the best places to view sakura and have your own hanami picnic in Tokyo
In early March, Tokyoites began panic-purchasing toilet paper. Shelves were cleared out in drugstores and supermarkets because of false rumours claiming that the rolls were made in China or that toilet paper was being diverted to make face masks. The rumours have been debunked, but people are still hoarding.
Don't panic – here's what you need to know about the global outbreak if you're visiting Tokyo
Some venues may be closed for now to curb the spread of Covid-19, but Tokyo's not on lockdown – there's still lots to do
Take note of these temporary closures: museums, art galleries, theme parks and tourist attractions