Swine Flu And International Travel

Swine Flu and How it Will Affect Travel

There are some stories that cause you to immediately recalibrate the way you look at things, that change your realities in a quite profound way. In the midst of the current global financial crisis, it was always going to take a big story to drag attention away from the turmoil in the markets. The great misfortune is that the story which has done this has turned out to be another bad news story – and one with more very real human casualties. The outbreak of swine flu which arose in Mexico has become a global issue very quickly. It is still far more pronounced in Mexico than anywhere else, but it is something that nations are having to take account of, wherever they are in the world.

The fact that the virus originated in Mexico is, for a start, a hammer blow to the people of Mexico. Most importantly it has had a genuine human cost, for its victims and for the bereaved and concerned families. From the point of view of travel it has already had a major effect, as the popular Spring Break tradition of heading South from the US to the beaches of Cancun and further afield has been given a miss by many students this year. However big or small the actual risk is, there is a perception of risk, and that is enough to make a significant number of people change their plans. Meanwhile, travel the other way can lead to difficulties depending on where your destination is. Depending on the government response to the epidemic, you may face a period of quarantine in the country where you land.

As of now, there are very few prescribed steps being demanded by governments as to whether you should go to Mexico. The decision lies with the individual, although some governments have warned their national citizens against non-essential travel to destinations in Mexico. The World Health Organization has responded that it does not see a need to place any restrictions, and the facts as they stand are that at the moment, deaths from the syndrome are in the double figures worldwide. Any deaths count as too many, of course. But if you have plans to go to Mexico, there is little reason to cancel forthwith. Steps are constantly being taken to prevent its spread and treat its symptoms.

This is a rare case, and in its relative infancy compared to any similar cases. On balance, we still have a bit to find out – but there is little to be gained from closing ranks in our home countries. Mexico is currently experiencing a difficult time as a result of an outbreak that could not be foreseen and there is no reason why this should be exacerbated. By all means check several news sources for specific information on the state of play in the region where you are planning to visit. But do not let it get out of hand – hysteria helps no-one.

To streamline and minimize blog maintenance, I will be discontinuing maintaining the Travelnowsimply.com website (however, I will still hold the domain). I will gradually move all articles from this site to Ahmed Dawn Dot Com site. This article originally published on the above website on May 22, 2009.