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There are rapid screening tests for flu that can be done in the clinics or on locations but they cannot pinpoint the strain as being H1N1, and most likely, it's a case of when in doubt, slam the door shut, lock the gate & keep everyone fenced in (out ?) Commercial labs aren't certified to test H1N1 here in NYC, so only certain specimens taken are send to government health dept labs to confirm the virus strain, and results usually taken several days to come back, positive or otherwise.
Meanwhile, the ship is docked or anchored in the frozen safety zone, and will become a rolling "punch" ball getting bounced around by other ports, until it's ready for its return trip on a typical weeklong cruise.
Agree -- absurd does not begin to describe the ridiculous actions taken regarding this respiratory 'flu.'
Now H1N1 is called a 'pandemic.' Oh no, the sky is falling! All that means is that it is widespread, like anything else that is widespread. (How about diabetes or obesity as pandemics?)
The very idea that ships are refused entry at ports because of a few cases of some sort of respiratory ailment (not even confirmed as H1N1) is just plain silly, and costly to all concerned. How about all the people with common colds who've sailed for decades, or norovirus as it's called now, formerly Montezuma's Revenge or similar. BIG DEAL.
38,000 cases of H1N1 confirmed on a planet populated by MILLIONS and this is deemed a crisis? That 'World Health Organization' does more harm than good.
Surely it is very naive to label this as absurd because the world is trying to take precautions and contain this virus?
Now I am the last person to scare-monger (I've even returned to a ship that gave me salmonella poisoning the first time around!) and I realise that this virus is only killing the weak and vulnerable at the moment. However we are seeing it in the summer.
By the time we hit winter there is a possibility it will have had opportunity whilst spreading to mutate and will hit people at this stage whilst their immune systems are down. If you follow the news you will see that it is in the colder countries at the moment (Chile and Australia) where this strain is spreading fastest - they have been unlucky that it has hit the world as they were going in to their cold season.
Here in the UK we have an increasing number of cases and most of the new ones are either from people having visited America (no longer many coming from Mexico) or are in pockets where it has spread within a local community. We are trying very hard to contain it by isolating infected persons and their immediate environments. However such environments are hard to contain within a cruise ship - particular when many people don't even wash their hands having used the toilet never mind not using the antiseptic gels in the restaurants. We've seen how quick norovirus can spread within a contained environment.
I just hope other countries are being as sensible otherwise they may well exacerbate the problem later in the year.
To try and brush this under the carpet as being absurd and an over-reaction seems crazy to me.
__________________ 2005 MSC Armonia (Eastern Med) 2006 MSC Sinfonia (Western Med) 2007 Libra Domina Prestige (Nile Cruise), Thomson Celebration (Red Sea), Thomson Spirit (Southampton to Palma repositioning) 2008 Thomson Destiny (Canary Islands), Ocean Village (Eastern Med), Ocean Village 2 (Western Med) 2009 Libra Domina Prestige (Nile), Ocean Village 2 (Eastern Med), Fred Olsen Balmoral (mini cruise to Rouen), Ocean Village (Western Med) 2010 Celebrity Eclipse (France), RCI Adventurer of the Seas (Western Med), Fred Olsen Black Watch (France), Viking Sky (Danube), Fred Olsen Black Watch (Belgium) 2011 Fred Olsen Boudicca (Scilly Isles & Dublin), Celebrity Eclipse (Cork), P and O Ventura (Norwegian Fjords), Fred Olsen Balmoral (mini cruise to Channel ports)
I reviewed a number of different travel insurance plans over the last couple of weeks. MANY exempt coverage in the event of a PANDEMIC. Now that the swine flu has been declared a PANDEMIC, I suggest you check your coverage on insuremytrip.com or with your cruiseline. On Carnival, their medical coverage does not exempt swine flu, but it is secondary coverage. This translates to my primary insurance company gets billed and THEN Carnival's insurance carrier pays. Also, the maximum coverage amount was very low. insuremytrip.com has a link that specifically compares swine flu coverage. I went with Travelex. All this is very important because Medicare and many HMOs do not provide coverage outside the US and those plans that do often have a high international deductable.