Shock for Hawaii Tourism: Coronavirus arrived in Waikiki
Today Hawaii Governor Ige and Hawaii Tourism Authority president and CEO Chris Tatum moved Hawaii kamaainas and its visitors in a state of alert. The reason is the first coronavirus threat to the State of Hawaii. The virus is now known as COVID-19.
A Japanese tourist in Hawaii may have caught the dangerous virus and was visiting the Aloha State last week. The Department of Health issued an advisory for health professionals in the State of Hawaii.
In Nagoya, Aichi Prefecture, a man in his 60s who recently returned from a trip to Hawaii has tested positive for the coronavirus, the city government said. He has not visited China recently.
The Japanese tourist arrived on Maui on January 28, flew to Honolulu on February 3 and left for Nagoya on February 7. The visitor stayed in Waikiki at the Grand Waikikian by Hilton Grand Vacations Club on 1811 Ala Moana Boulevard.
It is not clear what measures Hilton is taking after they were made aware of the situation this morning. Yesterday, Hilton closed 150 hotels in Chin a.
According to the Hawaii Department of Health, the visitor most likely caught the virus before he left for Hawaii or on a flight to Maui, but most likely was contagious while in Waikiki.
The visitor felt fine in Maui but developed cold-like symptoms when he was on Oahu. He did not seek any medical attention but developed a high fever after his return to Japan.
Hawai Governor Ige said his team is trained and prepared for what is happening. He repeated this in a press conference today adding the State was well prepared to deal with such a situation.
The State now urges everyone to wash their hands and use good personal hygiene. Anyone with a cold should not take the bus.
Hawaii authorities are in touch with Federal and Japanese authorities to find out where the visitor who was traveling with his wife went and how to find those that were in contact with him. Anyone who was in direct contact with the visitor may be forced to be quarantined.
This situation may be a different scenario for the Hawaii travel and tourism industry. The State is dependent on this industry.
Dr. Peter Tarlow, head of safertourism.com commented: “Hawaii Tourism must have a workable Coronavirus security plan in place. The State should immediately invest in emergency upgrades of its sanitation system. Beach toilets remain disgusting in the State.
“It takes little to improve facilities specifically on beaches tourists like to visit. Hygiene and education of hygiene measures should have top priority.
“Every aircraft landing and taking off should be sanitized as it is done in Seychelles for example.”
The sick passenger was wearing a face mask, which is good news for passengers and crew on the aircraft.