Goddamnit, this whole covid mess really sucks balls, and never ending at that. There has been whispers over the last few weeks that the Japanese Olympics organising team were considering blocking any international fans to the games due to increased risks with virus mutations. It is even considering capacity restriction for locals. And it’s now confirmed. No overseas visitors will be allowed in for the delayed games in Japan.
Will 2021 be another write-off year?
I’ve already had to cancel/re-arrange 3 very conservatively times trips. And the Olympics was really my first real hope of getting away for a bit, especially since Japan was making all the right noises that the event “must go ahead”. Alas, for foreigners it will not be possible to enjoy the games in person.
What makes this so much worse is that getting Olympic tickets you want are almost like gold dust. It’s a lottery and for once I felt I got lucky. Certain events like track and field are almost impossible to get. I did not have much luck with Rio 2016 or London 2012. Though London being a home game, I bid for so many, I actually managed to get a couple of preliminary events at least. For Tokyo, I managed to get 3 tickets for events I really wanted, and 2 of which were finals medal ceremonies too.
I even managed to get and re-arrange the perfect flights itinerary which would have been on ANAs brand new Suites product:
My previous ANA flight in 2020 was on their boxy F product
Japan’s Covid Handling
Japan has been one of a select few countries to have largely contained the pandemic. That being said, views of “handling” is a super relative term here, as East Asian countries in general have been very stringent trying to control the spread in every way possible.
What has surprised me given Japans supposed desire to still be able to host the Games, they have not been more forward planning with the vaccinations. If the EU is being slow and bureaucratic, Japan has until a week ago not even starting vaccinating!
Possibilities For Other Destinations
In some respects, it sounds like this summer could be worse that even last. UK’s SAGE have attributed the second wave of the virus in UK to do the open travel corridors with certain European countries through the summer. In particular Greece & Spain, where even though things were initially under control, they became a global melting pot. This does not bode well for this summer unless the rest of Europe is well vaccinated. A job Europe is doing rather poorly at the minute.
Elsewhere, Thailand is toying with the idea of even quarantine free travel from October 2021. Off course, they had similar plans last year which did not go well! Given how uptight Asian/OZ/NZ have been its not looking good this year really 🙁
This Olympics it seems is yet another casualty of Covid. Is any game the same without all its spectators? Though perhaps it did not have to be this way. This was not inevitable in any way, given we have many successful vaccination drives happening in several countries. If Japan was on a similar level, they could have protected most of their citizen to mitigate the risks.