Uganda prepares for swine flu

KAMPALA, Uganada (eTN) – A task force from the Ministry of Health has been formed to look at logistical challenges arising from the growing number of swine flu cases reported from several locations around the world.

Similar to the outbreak of SARS some years ago, the team is looking into distributing information about the illness but also into establishing a screening mechanism at the Entebbe International Airport for arriving passengers from destinations where an outbreak has occurred. No cases were detected in the country or in the wider region so far, which is reassuring for travelers wishing to visit eastern Africa in coming weeks.

Other east African countries are reportedly also preparing their logistics to deal with the disease in a similar fashion, and the previous SARS and bird flu working groups have been re-constituted for that purpose.

It was also learned that EU officials have called for a halt in travel to the United States and Mexico for all but essential trips, and that the bureaucrats in Brussels are likely to enlarge the geographical area of the anti-travel advisory as the disease spreads around the globe.

It is, however, hoped that the paranoia is kept in check, and the situation will not impact on travel and trade as it happened when the SARS panic kept planes to and from the affected areas nearly empty.

The current global economic and financial crisis, combined with widespread fear of travel over the swine flu, may otherwise cause the perfect storm for the aviation industry already hit hard over the past one or two years.