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Photo: Esparta

I’m writing from New York City, where, at last count, the Department of Health reported 44 confirmed swine flu cases.

While New Yorkers are being advised not to panic and to go about their normal routines, two schools where students have been diagnosed with flu have closed temporarily and new flu clusters have been identified. Already, local tourism officials are taking measures to ensure that the swine flu scare doesn’t cause travelers to avoid New York City.

Regardless of whether concern is warranted, though, it’s becoming increasingly clear that swine flu is already having a significant impact on travel and tourism.

Here’s a round up of the latest news about how swine flu is changing travel recommendations and plans:

-Argentina and Cuba announced today that they are temporarily suspending flights to and from Mexico, which is currently the center of the swine flu crisis.Similar measures were taken by Canada’s WestJet and Air Canada airlines.

-Mexico City has banned most public events and has closed schools, public pools, gyms and sports clubs, theaters, nightclubs until further notice as a precautionary measure intended to contain the spread of the virus. In Mexico City? Don’t expect to go out to eat; all restaurants have been told they can serve take-out only.

Photo: playadura

-At present, Mexico City’s massive subway system is still running, though the city government continues to evaluate whether shutting the Metro temporarily will help control the crisis.

-Britain has suspended all consular and visa services at its Mexico City office until further notice.

-The European Union issued travel warnings to its citizens, advising them to postpone non-essential travel to the United States and Mexico.

-Swine flu cases were either identified or being investigated in the following countries as of Tuesday, April 28: Australia, Brazil, Canada, Guatemala, Israel, New Zealand, Peru, South Korea, Spain, the UK, and seven EU states. As the number of cases are determined, voluntary travel restrictions to and from these countries may be put in place.

-The governments of Russia, Hong Kong, and Taiwan announced they would quarantine any visitors to their countries who show symptoms of swine flu.

-On April 27, the World Health Organization indicated that it does NOT support the suspension of travel or the closure of borders by national governments. It does, however, encourage travelers without a non-urgent need to travel to reconsider their plans. The WHO also recommended that anyone feeling ill should not travel, and anyone who becomes ill after traveling should seek immediate medical attention.

-To keep track of developments and recommendations for travel to and within the United States, visit the Centers for Disease Control’s swine flu page here. The CDC also maintains a link to swine flu travel alerts.

-To keep track of developments and recommendations for travel elsewhere in the world, read the World Health Organization’s daily updates here.

Community Connection:

Have you changed your travel plans due to swine flu? Are you currently in Mexico? Share your experiences below.

Health + LifestyleWorld Events


About The Author

Julie Schwietert

Julie Schwietert Collazo is a writer, editor, researcher, and translator currently in New York, formerly of Mexico City and San Juan.

  • Christine

    Although I don’t agree with the pandemic-scare-route the media is taking, thanks for putting out this info, Julie — important stuff to know in case you planned on traveling anytime in the next few weeks.

  • Julie

    Agreed, Christine– there’s no evidence of a pandemic, and as such, travelers should keep their fears in check while making thoughtful decisions based on evidence as it becomes available from legitimate sources.

  • Turner Wright

    Indeed. We might as well call it Swine SARS.

  • Craig

    Good on you. It’s nice to read something on Swine flu which isn’t spreading FUD. Every traveller needs to evaluate health risks all the time. The media’s having a field day on this, but hopefully it’ll be a storm in a tea cup.

  • joshywashington

    what’s next, weasel measles?

  • Travellohr

    Yep, sick of the propaganda.

  • Darren Cronian

    How come I said on Twitter that the media is making a mountain out of a molehill and got shot down by some individuals. Oh well, just added this post to my list of Swine flu resources on a post I have written for British holidaymakers.

  • Gregory

    Hey, your post answered a question one of my members had on my blog.

    You know, everyone might think that this is a silly idea, but trust me, if this Influenza does go the distance and really start killing. Just imagine how NOT silly it will be.

    In South Africa and other African countries, imagine how fast it would kill a township where people live in 2m by 2m houses(Shacks). and the shacks are less than a meter apart.

    No medicine to help them.

    I think right now, its a little over the top, but in time, it will be no joke.

    ~ The Swine Flu Symptoms Blog

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