The recent outbreak of the H1N1 virus has set the world in crisis mode. Kipp looks at the origin of the flu, how it has affected tourism and what regional governments are doing to protect us.
May 18, 2009 5:36 by kippreport
Apart from Israel, no cases have been reported elsewhere in the Middle East, though the region has been adopting preventative measures. Palestinian Authority health minister Fathi Abu Mughli says the occupied Palestinian territory is cooperating fully with Israel on preventative measures.
Thermal imaging cameras were installed at Dubai International Airport to screen passengers arriving from affected areas. The health ministry also issued a swine flu bulletin on May 4, to be updated daily.
It has been reported that a passenger who flew from New York to Hyderabad via Dubai on two separate Emirates flights on May 11 and 12 was infected with the virus. A health ministry official has said that nobody has shown any symptom of the disease four days after the passenger transited through Dubai, which is a possible indication that no one else has been affected by the virus.
Special screening measures are in place at Saudi Arabia’s four airports. Flights from countries with reported cases of the flu will not be rescheduled or postponed. The health minister for the kingdom has said that the country has adequate stocks of Tamiflu.
Egypt has ordered the culling of its entire pig population, estimated at 300,000; and in Jordan, the government has shut down five local pig farms – half the pigs will be slaughtered and the rest moved to areas away from the population, officials said. Lebanon has banned import of pigs and pork products, saying that any shipments from blacklisted countries will be destroyed.
At this point, no countries in the Middle East have placed travel restrictions, although they have urged passengers not to travel to infected countries, unless necessary.