Airline Flights Scaled Back, Some US Schools Closed, Europe Into Lockdown
We just finished watching WHO Director-General Dr. Margaret Chan on CNN satellite and I wish we had recorded what she said. No doubt you can go to CNN.com or Drudge Report and get the latest, but here it is from memory…
The World Health Organization raised the pandemic alert to the second-highest level, indicating that a full blown pandemic is “imminent” according to Dr. Chan. Dr. Chan said that “all countries should immediately now activate their pandemic preparedness plans.”
Prior to the appearance of Dr. Chan, some talking heads at CNN were speculating that the Avian flu and SARS were a “3” on the pandemic scale – so that gives you an idea of the seriousness of the threat.
In the news, we see that Air France flight crews are refusing to fly to Mexico. I can’t blame them, but truly it is so appropriate that the French crews would be the first to say “non”. I can’t help it folks — like the old joke “How many Frenchmen does it take to defend Paris? Answer: no one knows, it’s never been attempted!”
Now for Some Good News… And a More Balanced Perspective
eTurbo News — a global travel industry newsletter — reminds us that 35,000 people died of influenza in the United States last year alone. Yes, as Dr. Chan pointed out in the WHO briefing a few minutes ago, this new strain of swine flu has never been seen before and should be treated with respect and the utmost precautions. And, we should all take those precautions.
But we at Barbados Free Press are willing to bet that in two months time this new crisis in the travel industry will be ending. Our leaders should not only be thinking about what is to be immediately done to protect everyone, they should be planning for the recovery of our tourist industry after this swine flu passes.
Have a read of the eTurbo News article Applying Tourism’s Lessons Learned From SARS To Swine Flu and you will be reassured that the sky is not falling. This swine flu crisis isn’t the end of the world, but it is going to significantly impact our national economy and your pocketbook. In response, hopefully our leadership will cancel a few champagne brunches at the Hilton and devote themselves to more immediate concerns.
Meanwhile, as we continually remind our readers: look after your family and friends better than you ever have before — you might be the one needing help next week.