Travelling and Swine Flu

I travelled through 6 different airports this past week, and witnessed the different attitude in each to the swine flu scare:

Ben Gurion airport, Tel Aviv (departing): nothing, not a mention anywhere

Incheon airport, Seoul (arriving): a health form and a quick temperature scan before immigration

Gimpo airport, Seoul (departing): nothing

Haneda airport, Tokyo (arriving): a health form, hand washing with antiseptic liquid and a one-by-one thermal temperature scan before immigration, a form to carry while in Japan with contact information if symptoms occur

Narita airport, Tokyo (departing): nothing

Pudong airport, Shanghai (arriving): a detailed health form, the air crew took temperaure of each passenger, upon landing – scary looking uniformed quarantine officials came on board and checked each passenger again for fever, another inspection before immigration

Pictures from inside the Air China aircraft, after landing in Shanghai, a definite “Cassandra Crossing” moment:

IMG00063-20090524-1717

IMG00061-20090524-1717

Couple of observations:

  • Countries don’t care about those leaving, only about those entering. What about all the talk of international cooperation? Wouldn’t it make sense to stop infected people getting on the plane in the first place?
  • The outbreak numbers don’t match the level of inspection (Japan has hundreds of cases yet its inspection is less strict than that of China, with 11 cases).

(By the way: I tried to post this while in Shanghai, but the connection to the Blogger server was blocked. Not only for posting, but also for viewing the blog. No access to YouTube either. Welcome to the People’s Republic of China!).

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