Monday, 4 May 2009

Swine Flu // South Africa / ORT Airport

I traveled home from Hong Kong and arrived yesterday morning 7am at ORT.

It was not evident in the slightest that there may have been any potential world health emergency.

Not a single customs official, immigration official or any other ORT employee / service provider seemed to be taking any preventative or screening measures for this potential epidemic. A good number of passengers disembarked wearing their own masks. The baggage arrival area (A2) is perfect viral breading ground with a mix of heat from the lack of ventilation and the build up of an uncomfortable number of people arriving from various flights and having to wait well over an hour for baggage to come off the conveyors.

In Hong Kong every official is masked and some gloved too. In fact most people who deal with the public are masked (fast food staff, information officers etc.). There are a number of health monitoring stations where they film travelers with heat / infra-red cameras and take their temperatures with thermometers. There are automatic dispensing sanitizing stations placed all over the airport, hotels, shopping centres etc. Furthermore they continuously run TV ads about personal health care and avoiding the spread of germs supported with a printed campaign.

I find it hard to believe SA is really prepared for a epidemic when we haven’t even taken the most basic preventative measures?

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