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Thread: Swine Flu...

  1. #1
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    Tom Welch > Mesa, Arizona, USA
    Author of 101 Financial Ratios 5.0
    Travel Lite & Smart

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    i'm reminded of the sars breakout some years back. i remember traveling and seeing many people wearing surgical masks.

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    along with the immigration+customs form, the flight attendants on my flight into new delhi handed out health screening forms. the intent behind the form was to identify those who are both coming from countries where there have been cases of swine flu (including the u.s.) and have symptoms associated swine flu.

    the actual screening process when you landed was interesting. once you came off the jetway into the terminal and just before you approached the immigration checkpoint, there was a line up in front of a man and a woman wearing doctor's white coats and surgical masks.

    i had answered that i was from the u.s., a country where there have been cases of swine flu, and that i am not sick and haven't been sick in the last however many days. i presented the form, and one signed and the other stamped. from there, i was off to the immigration officer. no one was really "checking" and i don't think there was any practical way to "check."

    i suppose if i was sick, i would have been checked by a doctor, treated and quarantined for a period of time.

    a couple, but not all, of the immigration officers were also wearing surgical masks.

    i know that holland isn't doing these sort of screenings. has anyone else traveled internationally since cases of swine flu have been reported and encountered screenings for swine flu?

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    I just flew through Taipei. On arrival, they announced on the plane that if you have symptoms of flu (or suspect you have swine flu ), to please inform health officials on arrival. Otherwise there were no obvious procedures to go through. I was only in transit, so they may have more stringent measures at immigration that I don't know about.

    Many people at the airport - I would say 5%, do wear masks, from passengers to shop keepers. One flight attendant on my flight didn't have one on the plane, but as she left the plane, started putting one on. You definitely feel that the awareness is much higher there than in the US.

    I had a choice but avoided going through Hong Kong. For a long time, perhaps since the avian flu, they've had international visitors pass through a temperature scanner. I was afraid to one day, have a slight cold, and be quarantined for a week.

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    I just flew from the US to Canada with four other people. Two of us got leaflets about swine flu.

    I do worry that they might confuse my asthma symptoms with swine flu! That would stink!

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    My parents just flew to Cancun and back. They said that in the Cancun airport when they arrived, on the boat on their day trip to Cozumel, and in the Cancun airport on the way out they all had their temperatures checked! I suppose they weren't letting anyone in to or out of Mexico that had a fever.

    I even hear some Mexican resorts in Cancun are offering 3 free weeks if you come to Cancun and stay at their resorts and end up with swine flu. My brother really wanted to test the theory!

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    Right, my experience going to Japan from the U.S. has been similar to Maverick's account above. Questionnaire: 1) Been in US/Canada/Mexico recently? 2) Contact with folks from Canada/Mexico/US recently? 3) Feel sick?

    I checked Yes to the first two, and No to the last, the screening people didn't have white coats that I remember seeing, but they presented me with a form: "This paper certifies that you have been quarantined" and sent me on my way. Bizarre!

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    Back in the early 70's I was on PanAm Flight 1, which circled the world. The flight had passengers on it from Bangladesh, which at the time had (if I recall correctly) a smallpox outbreak at the time. When deplaning in Honolulu, we received World Health Organization cards to carry in our wallets. It had a code number on it and a list of symptoms and instructions that you might have been exposed to something and if you had any of the symptoms, to call the number immediately. You were also told to carry the card with you at all times for a specified period of time.

    Back in the early 60's I somehow came down with Scarlet Fever. Not only was our house quarantined (this was in the US), but our neighbors as well, as I had exposed them to it. Both households were put on Penicillin as a precaution as well.

    Going back even farther, my mom was an RN in training in the 30's in a charity hospital in the south. She was one of 2 nurses to take care of entire ward during a typhoid outbreak, because she had survived it as a child. Her pay was $2 per day, a dollar of which went for taxes into the state fund.

    Needless to say, things have changed a bit.

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    I was in Malaysia this past week. On the plane, they made the now-common announcemnent about the H1N1 virus, and along with the immigration form, they handed out a small questionnaire about your health - whether you are feeling flu symptoms, what countries you've visited recently, etc.

    Before you get to immigration, you now have to turn in the health form and walk through a temperature scan gate, with several nurses or health officials standing there all wearing masks. There is a makeshift quarantine bed nearby blocked off by curtains. I got through without any questions or problems, but it looks like they are taking it very seriously. As far as I know, there have been 2 cases of H1N1 illness in Malaysia (no fatalities) from people who came back from the US.

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    Ah, re: Taipei - yup, though in my case we all walked through the newfangled (after SARS, I believe) temperature scanner thing (which, I'm convinced, will whoop and have flashing lights, and paint flashing red on the monitor the person who is running a temperature)

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