Travel precautions

The WHO stated that the containment was not a feasible option and that countries should focus on migrating the effect of the virus. It did not recommend closing borders or restricting travel. On April 26, 2009, the Chinese government announced that visitors returning from flu-affected areas who experienced flu-like symptoms within two weeks would be quarantine. On May 2, 2009, China suspended flights from Tijuana to Shanghai.

The president of the Association of Flight Attendants told members of a US Congressional subcommittee that all flight attendants should be given training in how to handle a person with flu and help in communicating the passengers the importance of keeping clean hands. She also said that flight attendants need to be provided gloves and facemasks to deal with flu-stricken passengers. Lahey Clinic vice chairman of emergency medicine and Tufts University assistant professor of emergency medicine Mark Gendreau adds that airlines should also ensure that passenger cabins are always properly ventilated, including during flight delays in which passengers are kept aboard the plane. But he also adds that although the aviation industry in the US, along with the CDC, have tried to reassure passengers that air travel is safe, they have so far done too little to try to limit infection risks.

US airlines had made no major changed as of the beginning of June 2009, but continued standing practices that included looking for passengers with symptoms of flu, measles, or other infections, and relying on inflight air filters to ensure that aircraft were sanitized. Masks were not generally provided by airlines and the CDC did not recommended that airline crews wear them. Some non-US airlines, mostly Asian ones, including Singapore Airlines, China Airlines, China Southern Airlines, Cathay Pacific, and Mexicana Airlines took measures such as stepping up cabin cleaning installing state-of-the art air filters, and allowing in-flight staff to wear face masks.

Flu inspection on flight arriving in China

Thermal imaging camera & screen, photographed in an airport terminal in Greece. Thermal imaging can detect elevated body temperature, one of the signs of the virus H1N1 (Swine influenza).


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