As the strain of swine flu moves from continent to continent, it’s clear, as in the victims identified in New Zealand, that travelling from Mexico was what spread the flu over a natural border. Containment and isolation has always been used as a sensible precaution to contain the risk of further spread, so it is curious that the WHO suggests NOT restricting international air travel and movement across borders, whilst in the same breath urging that infected travellers from Mexico should be identified.
Both Cuba and Canada restricted flights and it appears that many airports are “screening” passengers. This is slightly ludicrous; it may not have reached the official ears of the airports, but people briefly incubate it before showing symptoms, and at airports it’s doubtful that there will be pathology labs taking samples and asking people to wait for the results. Too many people pass through airports for them to even get baggage handling right, let alone virus containment.
Mexico has already begun to take drastic measures to try and halt the spread, even though it may “harm business”. Sometimes there are things more important than the sales graph of the collective food industry. At least Mexico has realized the concept of sensible preventative measures. Although it can hardly afford to ignore it.
It’s true that misunderstanding has caused some confused actions to be taken, such as certain countries banning pork meat imports from Mexico, on the mistaken assumption that ‘swine flu’ can be contracted through eating pork. Businesses are again worried about the PR-effect as US and Brazilian pork industries complain that the word “swine” is harming trade.
It’s a jumbled set of priorities and measures.