From restaurants to beauty salons, this week brings a loosening of some restrictions here in Hawaii and elsewhere. In parts of the Asia Pacific, that includes going back to school – on different timetables.
Governor David Ige says he’s “having discussions” about international air travel to Hawaii — including what he calls “safe travel corridors.” Those are also called “travel bubbles” which has become a buzz phrase for a growing number of locations in the Asia Pacific.
Hawaii is far from the only place in the world that’s debating what to do about tourism. There’s another oceanfront destination that’s making some small moves this week, and still considering possibilities over the longer term.
The gradual process of re-opening is continuing across the state and in differing degrees around the world. Some countries are starting to look at possible ways to allow certain visitors, with careful controls — and that includes China.
Any talk about lifting travel quarantines in Hawaii starts with neighbor island travel. But more work is planned before opening the gates to immediate entry to out of state visitors. Elsewhere in the Asia Pacific, a similar way of thinking is leading to consideration of what some are calling “travel bubbles.”
Travel quarantines are getting more attention around the world. The two-week isolations help block the spread of the coronavirus, but they also bring their own challenges. Some of those have popped up this week in the Asia Pacific.
The number of visitors to Hawaii has been creeping higher in recent weeks, and there’s a growing focus on how to enforce the 14-day quarantine. South Korea has been using a method for months that’s now moving to a new level.
Hawaii’s legislature has been meeting at the capitol for the last couple of weeks at a distance from each other and from the public. Proceedings are televised, but safety remains a focus. That’s also true for a much larger gathering of lawmakers coming together this week in China.
The World Health Organization has been meeting for the last two days by video conference. It’s a shortened annual meeting, and of course it’s all about COVID-19. That means discussion has been postponed on at least one controversial issue in the Asia Pacific.
Governments around the world are spending hundreds of billions of dollars to fight the economic freeze that has followed the coronavirus pandemic. Debates are still continuing about whether to spend more — as well as the pace of reopening business.
As we come to the close of another week, more businesses are opening, but that does not include the travel industry. In Hong Kong, government officials say they’re looking at a possible return to travelers at some point this summer.
While most states are starting to re-open their economies, many of them have not seen a consistent decline in the number of new cases of coronavirus. A similar pattern is emerging in some countries — including Indonesia.
Some of the restrictions put in place to deal with the coronavirus pandemic are gradually loosening in many countries and in a majority of states — including Hawaii. One place that’s been relatively successful in controlling the spread of the virus is New Zealand. And tomorrow, the country moves to a new phase.
One of the biggest western tourist attractions in Asia is open for business this week. Shanghai Disneyland limited visitors to a third of its capacity on Monday, and staggered entry times. But a return of international tourism to the region will require much more than facemasks and social distancing. And that includes a favorite destination for Chinese travelers: Thailand.
Some restrictions are gradually loosening on businesses around the state this week and next week –although we are still some time from ramping up travel to Hawaii. But there are some countries in the Asia Pacific that are taking a different kind of attitude to certain types of travel.
Some lawmakers in the Philippines are pushing to get the country’s largest broadcaster back on the air. The station’s signal was taken down following a long-running dispute with the government, and in the middle of a continuing pandemic.
Across the country and around the world, leaders of states and countries are making decisions about whether and how far to re-open. This week, the leader of one of the largest economies in the Asia Pacific announced his latest approach to fighting the pandemic.
Some states and countries are starting to loosen a few of the restrictions put in place to fight the spread of the novel coronavirus. But travel and tourism remain locked down when it comes to Hawaii, and most other locations. But that may shift in one region of the Asia Pacific.
In many places, today is Labor Day — a celebration of working people at a time when work has been disrupted around the world. In one Southeast Asian nation, the Prime Minister used his annual Labor Day address to talk about a cautious re-opening to a work world that will be very different.
Attention is increasingly shifting to the cautious and limited re-opening of some areas around the world. And there’s great interest on research and development that can help with that goal. A lot of that work is being done in the Asia Pacific.
This could be a crucial week when it comes to fighting the spread of the coronavirus in Japan. The country will soon launch into “Golden Week” — a series of holidays which is usually one of the biggest travel periods in the country. But of course, this year is different.
Congress has now passed another financial aid package that includes help for small business. One country in Asia is taking a different approach — targeting several industrial sectors with companies that are much bigger.