Sport | Japan

“It's really unsettling,” Japan-based MMA fighter Sera McAnn

Sera McAnn (Aitanga-a-Hauiti), who currently resides in  Saitama, Japan, says that the people and government there are not taking the COVID-19 pandemic as seriously as they should be. With over 2,000 cases and 60 deaths, the Aitanga-a-Hauiti professional MMA fighter gives us an insight into what life is currently like in Saitama, Japan.

"It's really unsettling how it's being dealt with in Japan because it's pretty much business as usual here. People aren't taking it too seriously," McAnn says.

"I know the governor of Tokyo has urged people to stay home but it's not legally binding and they haven't imposed any kind of other restrictions on people, people are just carrying on as normal."

Despite having over 2,935 confirmed cases and 69 deaths, McAnn says that people and the government do not seem to be taking this pandemic too seriously, with many services still open, including businesses and public transport.

"Japan is inherently quite a clean country. People bow here so there is not a lot of contact and people wear masks as a common everyday thing so that could help with the spread but not completely, especially when you're in close quarters with people. People are still in offices and trains, they still get packed. So that's quite scary."

With the Olympics being postponed until next year, some say that the Japanese government were doing all they could to not allow that to happen.

"It's interesting to see the way the government was handling this pandemic, we've been keeping up with the global news. They were saying that they were hiding numbers because they still wanted to host the 2020 Olympics, and if you look at the stats the numbers started increasing right when they cancelled the Olympics. But even then, there's still not as much testing as other countries."

Despite the relaxed attitude by most people in her community, McAnn and her partner continue to stay safe in their home.

"We've politely declined visits from other people and our friends that are here, and people want to come over but we're saying 'let's do it after this is cleared.'"

"I think we haven't even seen what's yet to come, I think the cases are going to explode."