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View Poll Results: What do you think about how Caribbean ports have reacted to ships with swine flu?
H1N1 is no worse than seasonal flu; ports overreacted in cancelling calls.
Ports are trying to protect their populations from the H1N1 virus.
Ports should risk swine flu to get the financial benefits of cruise ship calls.
Ports should screen passengers for flu before letting them debark.
Ports should only turn away cruise ships with confirmed H1N1 cases.
Caribbean islands should restrict entry to air traffic too.
Swine Flu: Thoughts on Caribbean Ports Denying Ships?
Over the past two weeks, five Caribbean islands -- St. Lucia, Antigua, Grenada, Barbados and Isla Margerita -- have barred cruise ships from docking over concerns about H1N1 virus, formerly known as swine flu. In the case of St. Lucia and Antigua, port authorities made decisions prior to learning about test results (the suspected cases ultimately came back negative).
At Carnival Corp.'s Q2 conference call earlier this morning, Chairman and CEO Mickey Arison was asked about how swine flu had cut into the company's yield. Arison took the opportunity to comment on the ports turning ships away:
"We have now been in touch with 23 Caribbean government, and we've gotten confirmation back from 20 of them that they will not behave the way they have behaved with Pullmanturs (sic) ... The reality is that when a ship arrives in a port with a few flu cases -- confirmed or unconfirmed -- those cases have been isolated, and the passengers have been onboard for a number of days, and so symptoms would have come out and we have isolated the passengers with symptoms. So this overreaction in some locations has been a problem -- we had a particular problem in Australia. We're trying to deal with it port by port, government by government and I think over time people are understanding that this is not any different than seasonal flu and should be treated as such. And we also have remember that the WHO from the very beginning said that there should be no restriction on travel -- and yet some governments, lower level people have panicked."
Now we'd like to your input: Do you think Caribbean ports areright to exercise an abundance of caution when it comes to H1N1? Or are they overreacting, as Arison declares? Vote in our poll and share your comments.
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Last edited by Dan Askin; June 18th, 2009 at 04:16 PM.
I do think that there has been a massive overreaction to H1N1.
That said, governments have the obligation to protect their populace. Perhaps they are being overprotective, but that is not our decision to make. As foreigners we cannot expect foreign governments to make decisions based upon what we think is right ... If anyone can sway them it must be their citizens.
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I'm Australian and there has definitely been a huge overreaction here to Swine Flu. Schools were being closed for a week when a single child tested positive. And this is in the middle of our mid-year exam period. Because it is winter here, and because it is a new strain, there is no doubt that the swine flu virus IS spreading quickly, but all evidence says that it is milder than most seasonal flu strains. The school closure decision has now been reversed and life goes on. Someone I know in the medical profession theorised that authorities were treating swine flu as a trial run for if/when a severe pandemic strain emerges. From how they've handled it, heaven help us!