VIRUS DIARY: A really, really, REALLY long Olympic journey

1 month ago 17
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My determination was Haneda Airport successful Tokyo. My destination was the Main Press Center for the Olympics — besides successful Tokyo.

Turns retired the quickest way was done Seattle.

Let maine explain.

Among the requirements to screen the Tokyo Olympics were 2 antagonistic COVID-19 trial results wrong 96 hours and 72 hours of travel.

This wasn't casual to statesman with. The 96-hour trial would person to beryllium connected Sunday, July 18, close astir the clip the last radical successful the British Open was connected the sixth hole. I missed the Open for the archetypal clip since 1996 — Tiger Woods’ past large arsenic an amateur — due to the fact that of the UK quarantine laws and the trouble of getting location and tested successful clip for the Tokyo flight.

I made it done the Sunday and Monday tests, some results were returned connected Wednesday, my formation was Thursday. Life was good.

I thought my formation from Atlanta was 11 a.m. It was a 11:39 a.m. No large deal, right? I’ve spent a beingness erring connected the broadside of being aboriginal alternatively than late, truthful I ne'er gave this different thought.


Then I landed astatine Haneda.

The quarantine worker looked astatine my boarding pass, my 72-hour trial effect and her log. She called her supervisor (bad sign). They called different supervisor (really atrocious sign). They took maine to a country for questions, and I yet realized the issue.

The antagonistic trial is required wrong 72 hours of the formation leaving for Japan. Mine was 72 hours and 39 minutes. There was nary budging.

Their proposal was to telephone the session — it was 2 a.m. successful Jacksonville, Florida — and “negotiate.” When I called that nighttime (Friday greeting successful Florida), the session said nary go.

I asked astir taking the trial astatine Haneda — different trial was required earlier entry, anyway. They said I technically had not “entered” Japan. The investigating country was connected the different broadside of the introduction desk. I had nary prime but to motion a signifier that introduction was denied.

All the while, my colleagues astatine the AP were contacting IOC officials for help. Antony Scanlan, the caput of the International Golf Federation with a agelong past astatine the Olympics, was calling everyone helium could for help. The answers each contained immoderate saltation of the phrase, “Very strict.”


Short answer: No.

I had 2 options: Go to a quarantine edifice for six afloat days and beryllium tested 3 times. If each went well, I could get to Kasumigaseki Country Club successful clip for the last round. The different was to instrumentality to the U.S. for different trial and past travel back. This sounded absurd.

However, that would mean a 6:20 p.m. formation to Seattle connected Saturday (arriving astir noon connected Saturday), investigating successful the airdrome erstwhile I arrived, and past returning to Tokyo connected the 11:35 a.m. formation connected Sunday that would get Monday afternoon, and past commencement the introduction process over. I could beryllium astatine enactment connected Tuesday.

The quickest route.

(If you’re wondering — arsenic I did: Because of terrible question restrictions successful some places, Delta has suspended its nonstop work to Honolulu).

Total aerial miles: determination astir 17,000. Time spent successful the main cabin: astir 35 hours. I looked retired the model erstwhile we landed successful Seattle and saw snow-capped Mount Rainier, truthful I sent a photograph to a person successful Florida who replied, “Mount Fuji?”


Uh, no.

So the itinerary frankincense acold is Jacksonville to Atlanta to Tokyo to Seattle to Tokyo. Golf hasn’t adjacent started, and I’ve already made 3 trips crossed the International dateline successful a span of 3 days. I had estimated my door-to-door question clip astatine 22 hours.

I was disconnected by 3 days.


EDITOR'S NOTE — Doug Ferguson successfully entered Japan connected his 2nd effort and made it to the Main Press Center connected Monday afternoon.


Virus Diary, an occasional feature, showcases the coronavirus pandemic done the eyes of Associated Press journalists astir the world. Doug Ferguson is the play writer for the AP. Follow him connected Twitter astatine

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This worldly whitethorn not beryllium published, broadcast, rewritten oregon redistributed without permission.

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