Coronavirus pandemic: All stories
Get more with myNEWS
A personalised news feed of stories that matter to you
Learn more
Cardboard beds at Narita airport near Tokyo set up for people who have to wait for the results of government coronavirus quarantine checks. Photo: AP

Coronavirus: Japan airport builds cardboard ‘hotel’ for stranded travellers

  • Narita Airport, near Tokyo, set up the facility in its baggage-claim area for passengers awaiting the results of virus tests
  • Results can come as quickly as six hours, but delays now mean many take as long as one or two days, a health official said
Japan’s Narita Airport has prepared an impromptu hotel of cardboard beds and quilts in its baggage-claim area for passengers from overseas who might have to stay there while awaiting the results of tests for the novel coronavirus.
Though flights at the airport, about 60 kilometres east of central Tokyo, are down so sharply that it has closed one of its runways, planes are still landing with passengers arriving from countries including the United States and Italy who are required to undergo tests for the virus before they can head home.
A quarantine official collects a sample for coronavirus testing from an arriving passenger at Narita airport earlier this month. Photo: Kyodo

Results can come as quickly as six hours, but delays now mean many take as long as one or two days, an official at the Health Ministry said, declining to give his name.

With passengers forbidden to take public transport, those with nobody to pick them up have to wait – and the cardboard beds have been readied in case nearby facilities currently being used to house passengers are full, he added.

An aerial view of Narita airport near Tokyo on Friday. Photo: Kyodo

Developed for use in evacuation centres during disasters and any other time when temporary bedding is needed, the beds – made of heavy-duty cardboard – contain a mattress and a quilt.

“There are facilities near the airport for people to stay, so as far as I know the beds haven’t been used yet – or if they have, it’s only been very briefly,” the official said.

Japan last week declared a state of emergency in major population centres to fight the spread of the coronavirus. The number of cases in the country is at least 7,400, with 137 deaths, public broadcaster NHK said.

This article appeared in the South China Morning Post print edition as: Airport’s cardboard ‘hotel’ helps delayed travellers