What do you think of these policies in response to swine flu popping up around the world?
Here’s a striking fact: Many nations already had a pandemic plan in place well before the current outbreak, according to a 78-nation compilation by the BBC. These plans are responses to earlier flu threats, such as the avian flu. A lot of resources have been spent already.
The BBC’s fact sheet also reveals, not surprisingly, the vast disparities in the abilities of rich and poor nations to cope with a pandemic—either this one or the next.
You can watch the spread of the swine flu through time and around the globe with the BBC’s interactive map.
Many airports around the world—South Africa, Tunisia, China, Singapore, and Hungary, to name a few—now employ thermal imaging devices to measure human body temperature and spot possible cases of the flu. If you have the flu, your temperature is higher. It’s also higher for those who stopped at the airport bar for a drink.
Many nations have banned pork imports. Ecuador, Russia, China, and South Korea are among them.
In the most drastic move, Egypt is slaughtering all pigs, even though there is not a sign of virus in them. Egypt is a predominantly Muslim country. Its small Christian Coptic community eats pork.
In contrast, the prime minister of Cambodia urged Cambodians to continue to eat pork. “The infection does not come by eating pork,” he said, quoted by the BBC.
What about doctors on planes? Lufthansa is now doing this. According to the company’s web site, “From Thursday, 30 April, Lufthansa will be deploying specialist aviation doctors from the Lufthansa Medical Service on its flights to and from Mexico as a precautionary measure to protect passengers and crew against human swine influenza.”
Tomorrow Mexico plans to reopen businesses, restaurants, and cafés, saying the spread of the swine flu is abating. Public health officials in the U.S. warn that it’s too soon to tell.
What do you make of these actions? Do they make sense to you? Tell us what steps you are taking, if any, and what you observe around you.
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