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Holiday to Japan?

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by watson17, Feb 26, 2020.

  1. boxer20

    boxer20 New commenter

    I have a holiday booked to Japan for the Easter holidays.

    Me and my partner have wanted to go for years and have saved and planned for a long time.

    I am now hearing about school children who have been to Italy being sent home for two weeks to quarantine themselves.

    Can I be in trouble at work if I go to Japan and then end up having to self isolate for two weeks?

    I don't really want to discuss it with my head because I'm scared he'll say I can't go...however it also doesn't seem right to sneak off to Japan and then call him up to say I won't be in for two weeks!

    As the government is not advising against travel my partner and I would be out of pocket significantly if we don't go.
  2. colacao17

    colacao17 Occasional commenter

    There are comments on this on another thread somewhere.

    Thing is, at the moment the employer has no obligation to pay you if you stay off for two weeks. So you could end up out of pocket.
    And of course, the risk here is that people will choose not to self-isolate because they can't afford to, and the virus will spread.

    There may be better official advice before Easter as there will be very many people in a similar situation, all over the world.

    Edited to add: See p31 of the Coronavirus thread.
    HolyMahogany likes this.
  3. sbkrobson

    sbkrobson Star commenter

    I'm sorry but my response is going to sound harsh.
    Given the depth of discussion about whether we have a pandemic or not, the fear is that a lot rests now on human behaviour and global thinking. It takes only one instance of breaching containment strategies for exponential spread of the virus.
    And yet there are millions of good reasons to commit this breach entrenched in the minds of humans.
    I booked a holiday.
    I'll lose money if I don't go
    I've got to see them-they are ill
    You can't tell me what to do
    I wont go near anybody, it'll just be me.
    Nobody told me not to
    A multi million pound deal depends on me being there
    I miss my gran

    You are contemplating entering an area known to be affected by the virus. Because you've wanted to go for ages. And because it has cost you lots. And you are talking about the potential need to self isolate on return. And your main question-will you be in trouble at work?
    Why is your main question not-could this potentially contribute to the spread of this virus? :mad:
  4. boxer20

    boxer20 New commenter

    If the advise given by the Home Office is not to travel, then of course we will not travel, but they are not advising against travel.

    At this stage 189 Japanese nationals have been affected in a nation of 128 million.

    With the current numbers, I don't think asking a work related question on a professional forum equates to a disregard for global health...
  5. Bedlam3

    Bedlam3 Star commenter

    My advice would be to hang on for a bit and see how it pans out. Check your travel insurance. Mine says something like you get your money back if the government declares none but essential travel within 28 days of your departure. So you just need to wait and see at the moment.
  6. boxer20

    boxer20 New commenter

    Thanks, thats what I was thinking, I will hold off discussing with my head at this stage!
    Morninglover likes this.
  7. install

    install Star commenter

    Acc. to the Gov't website :

    'Coronavirus (COVID-19)
    There is an ongoing outbreak of coronavirus in Japan, including instances of in-country transmission. It may cause more severe symptoms in older people, and those with pre-existing medical conditions. There are enhanced quarantine procedures at entry points to Japan such as airports and ports. The authorities may carry out extended health checks on arrival including compulsory hospitalisation. You should comply with any additional screening measures by the authorities if asked to go through extra checks.

    As a preventative measure against the spread of coronavirus, the Immigration Services Agency of Japan has announced that, unless there are exceptional circumstances the following people are not permitted to enter Japan:

    • foreign nationals who have been to Hubei or Zhejiang provinces in the People’s Republic of China within 14 days prior to arrival
    • foreign nationals who have a Chinese passport issued by Hubei or Zhejiang provinces in the People’s Republic of China.
    Some flights from Japan to mainland China have been suspended or cancelled; check with your travel provider for updates. The Japan National Tourism Organisation has a 24 hour hotline (+81 50 3816-2787) which provides support and advice for visitors in Japan including on coronavirus. NHK news (English) has the latest information about coronavirus in Japan.

    If you’re returning to the UK from Japan, consult the latest advice from the Department of Health and Social Care on actions you should take if you develop symptoms on your return. 

    Further advice on coronavirus is available from Public Health England and on the TravelHealthPro website.'
  8. install

    install Star commenter

    I'd be tempted to look exactly at the area in Japan you are travelling to and see if there are any cases there. Do you have insurance for out there in the event of illness?
  9. Foux da fa fa

    Foux da fa fa New commenter

    I was in Asia during the SARS epidemic. I found out by email that my travel insurance was made invalid because it was an epidemic. I was stuck in Asia with no health insurance for another six months. This was terrifying. Check fine print before travelling.
    TheoGriff, agathamorse and install like this.
  10. Morninglover

    Morninglover Lead commenter

    Some good advice above (and some not so good, in my opinion). If I were in your shoes I'd wait for the moment and NOT tell the HT (or, if possible, anyone else at school) about your holiday.

    If the UK government tells people not to go, you don't have a decision to make; if it simply 'advises' you can ask your travel agent (i you booked through one) whether you can postpone (maybe for 12 months); if you can't postpone, you'll have to make a decision.

    PS if the HT does find out and tells you not to go, I'd agree PROVIDING the school pays for any financial losses you incur.
    ajrowing likes this.
  11. Boardingmaster

    Boardingmaster New commenter

    Our school have banned staff from travelling to a certain number of countries over Easter, but have agreed to pay the cost of already booked flights if insurance won’t pay. Maybe ask your head, it would presumably he cheaper for them than paying you to stay off work for two weeks on return.
    TheoGriff and agathamorse like this.
  12. BelleDuJour

    BelleDuJour Star commenter

    I cannot see how your HT could TELL you not to go.
    Secondly you are under no obligation to tell anyone........ HT, cleaners, dinner ladies, colleagues........where you are going or what you are doing on your holidays.
    None of anyone's business, just up to you IF the government suggests you do not travel to Japan.
  13. Piranha

    Piranha Star commenter

    I fear that by the time we get to Easter, the virus will be everywhere and you will be just as likely to catch it in this country as in Japan.
  14. boxer20

    boxer20 New commenter

    Thank you all for your replies.

    Hopefully the situation will become clearer in the next week or two.

    If the sc
    This is my feeling also.
    Containment strategies are starting to fail already so in another month this could well be the case.
    geordiepetal and agathamorse like this.
  15. agathamorse

    agathamorse Senior commenter

    My daughter's school is, so far, still planning to visit Japan at Easter for their annual Japanese Exchange.
    install and ajrowing like this.
  16. Magic_faraway_tree

    Magic_faraway_tree New commenter

  17. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter


    The Telegraph today (Thursday 27 Feb) has a very interesting article about cancellation fees and general losses when you cancel a holiday to a country with a coronavirus outbreak It's called "Tourists face snub by insurers unless they have GPs sick note"

    Basically, unless the Govt advises not to go, you need a sick note from yr Dr saying your health generally is so poor that to travel there would put you at risk if you caught it.

    In which case, my guess is, the insurer could say "Why didn't you declare this poor health when you.signed on?

    Try asking in staffroom tomorrow who takes the Telegraph

    Best wishes

    agathamorse likes this.
  18. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter


    I have downloaded the main article on it here:

    915 words Coronavirus

    Holidaymakers who want to cancel over fears they may become virus victims told they must have letter from doctor

    HOLIDAYMAKERS trying to cancel trips to countries with coronavirus outbreaks could be denied refunds because insurers are demanding sick notes from doctors.

    A Daily Telegraph survey of 11 major insurers found at least seven would only consider refunding trips for elderly and ill customers travelling to any country where coronavirus was present if a note was provided by a doctor.

    But Dr Richard Vautrey, GP committee chairman at the British Medical Association, urged doctors not to respond to insurers’ requests for sick notes, saying it was “completely inappropriate” to ask customers to approach family doctors.

    Sick notes will not be required for holidaymakers claiming insurance for trips booked to areas where the Foreign Office has advised against travel. Travel to areas where coronavirus is spreading is likely to be of greatest concern to parents with young children, elderly people and those with underlying health issues, as medical evidence suggests they could be at a greater risk. Insurers said they had seen a surge in calls about potential cancellations over the past few days.

    It came as at least 15 schools in the UK closed and more than 20 pupils were left in isolation. Ireland’s upcoming Six Nations rugby match against Italy has been cancelled as ten towns in northern Italy are struggling to contain the virus. The Government has recommended people avoid “all but essential travel” to the affected areas.

    But Dr Vautrey said: “GPs are not in a position to advise whether patients are fit to travel in this situation and it is not their responsibility to do this. “Practices are under intense pressure, especially at this time of year, and this is not a good use of GP time, taking doctors away from treating ill patients. “We would strongly advise our members that they do not need to respond to such requests from travel operators or insurers. The BMA will stand fully behind any doctors who refuse to write such letters.”

    He said patients could instead request a summary of their existing health conditions, which practices could supply in return for a fee. It is unclear whether insurers would accept a generic medical history as evidence that someone was unfit to fly to an affected country, instead of a doctor’s note. Consumer experts advised travellers to check with their insurer before paying for a medical history document.

    Axa said it would provide cancellation cover to any coronavirus-affected country if customers provided a doctor’s note confirming they are unfit to travel. LV= said cancellation cover would be available for customers with a doctor’s note advising them not to travel due to increased health risk.

    Post Office insurance said customers wanting their claim assessed would need to provide a formal letter from their GP advising them not to travel. Generally, airlines and hotel booking sites will not refund trips to countries unless the Foreign Office has issued official advice saying people should not travel there.

    The Foreign Office has also warned against “all travel” to Hubei Province in China, and “all but essential travel” to mainland China in general. Package holiday providers are expected to offer refunds or alternative trips if the Foreign Office advises “all but essential” travel to the destination.

    For trips to countries where no official advice has been issued, holidaymakers who want to cancel trips are unlikely to receive refunds. Some holidaymakers asked to self-isolate while abroad have since discovered they may not be entitled to compensation or refunds.

    Insurers said they would consider holidaymakers’ requests for cancellation cover individually, taking into account health concerns.

    Rory Boland of consumer group Which? said: “People are understandably concerned about how their travel plans will be impacted by coronavirus, and a lack of clear and timely information has left many travellers confused about their options.”

    Gocompare, the insurance comparison website, said it had seen a 58 per cent increase in people buying travel cover this week, while Aviva and Axa both said they had experienced a large spike in calls from customers seeking advice on cancelling trips.

    Meanwhile, it has emerged that Zara Tindall, the Queen’s granddaughter and her husband, former England rugby player Mike Tindall, will not be self-isolating after returning from a skiing trip in northern Italy. The couple’s management said they were following government guidelines and medical advice, and were currently asymptomatic.

    Nick Robinson, the BBC Radio 4 presenter, is the latest high-profile figure who has said he will be self-quarantining after returning from a trip abroad. Robinson, 56, said it was “precautionary” after a holiday in Vietnam and Cambodia.

    Gwyneth Paltrow posted a photograph of herself wearing a facemask on a flight to Paris from the US. The actress, who appeared in the 2011 disaster film Contagion, joked that she had “already been in this movie”.

    A Labour MP warned that the outbreak was causing a shortage of wedding dresses. Chris Bryant said many dresses were imported from China and shops “have found it really difficult because the factories have been closed”. He called on the Government to offer financial support to struggling companies. Mr Bryant said: “Having married many women in my time when I was a vicar, I am aware that this is very time sensitive, and there is a real danger to many of these businesses that they are going to suffer enormous financial loss, let alone to the families.”

    Matt Hancock, the Health Secretary, said he was working with the Treasury on an appropriate response to supply chain issues, which he said were also affecting drugs and pharmaceutical firms. Swipe for more

    Best wishes
    agathamorse likes this.
  19. sanriku

    sanriku New commenter

    I am in exactly the same situation as you. We are booked to fly through South Korea. If the UK government advice changes, you will be able to change your ticket or get a refund. If you have pre-existing travel insurance (I always book mine shortly before travel, whcih I'm regretting now), you may well get a refund. I have been in touch with a Japanese company who are advising me to play it by ear, as it is not clear how the situation will change.

    To the person who asked the question "will this spread the virus" - I see your point but at this stage we are looking at it spreading everywhere. So the question should be "can we justify travelling anywhere at all"? Ordinarily we would have been visiting family in northern Italy over half term, which would have turned out to be a disaster!

    My concern is being forced to self-isolate and that damaging my students' vital last revision weeks. So I'll be taking a decision much nearer the time based on the situation then. It is an awful lot of money. If I was able to get a flight change now I would do so, to be honest. Last suggestion - you'll have no problem booking a hotel room anywhere in Japan so probably best to cancel all bookings now while you aren't liable for payment!
    agathamorse likes this.
  20. matevans

    matevans New commenter

    The virus is inevitably going to spread anyway. I'd steer clear of China, but I wouldn't be put off going anywhere else. Given we still know so little about it including the numbers of people carrying it but who do not show the symptoms (and thus the true mortality rate), then this idea in a globalised world we can stop its movement is I think naive. Swine flu became a pretty scary pandemic 10 years ago - I fear this is just part and parcel of life.

    As for self-isolating and the students missing 'vital revision' - then I think we run the risk as teachers of exaggerating our own importance - how hard the students have and will work will be the true determiner of what they get.
    Piranha and agathamorse like this.

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