Time and time again, the pandemic has made a mockery of our plans, a fact we should be familiar with by now yet still manage to be taken aback by. Such was the case for me when I was back in the U.K. in late November and early December to see family and friends for the first time in over two years.

Following the emergence of the omicron variant of the coronavirus, Japan moved quickly to reverse recent steps that had been taken to ease border restrictions. Attention has rightly been focused on the barring of new entries and the impact that has had and will have, but quarantine measures have been tightened too, with their own implications — something I know first hand.

Shortened self-isolation is now a thing of the past and more people will need to spend at least some time at a hotel. But more than that, anyone who shares a flight with someone infected with omicron faces strengthened quarantine measures.