web Musings of The Global Traveller

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Swine flu update #4

I previously blogged on the impacts of swine flu on travel, what to do about the potential impacts and how savvy travellers can benefit.

This is an update on how the potential impacts are developing. A reminder that for medical advice or up to the minute information on the spread of swine flu, check out the World Health Organization (WHO) website. Note they have now taken to calling it H1N1 Influenza A instead of swine flu.

Current swine flu status

Transmission rates and death rates are lower than normal seasonal influenza levels. Further there are only 3 countries with a material number of confirmed cases (none of which are high relative to normal flu numbers). WHO continues to treat H1N1 Influenza A seriously, noting that the 1918 "Spanish flu had a lull during Northern Hemisphere summer before the full outbreak.

Current impacts on travel

Some countries are still taking a strong precautionary stance for visitors arriving with flu symptoms. Cruise passengers have had disembarkation delayed by several hours in Australia and Barbados, amongst other places, due to as little as one unwell passenger onboard.


I'm continuing to keep an eye on bargains and where practical ensuring my travel plans can cater for a modest delay entering or leaving a country. It is, however, difficult to allow for a potential enforced quarantine if someone else on your flight or ship or in your hotel is confirmed to have H1N1 swine flu - especially as the length varies by country from a few days to a week or more. Insurance coverage continues to be important.

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