May 8, 2009
As of May 4, 2009, the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention reported that there were no cases of the Swine Flu.
Currently, the epidemic is categorized as being in phase 4 by the Director General of the world Health Organization (WHO) which means both humans and animals can infect other humans. Though the authorities are unsure if the epidemic will spread to China, the Chinese General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ) released an emergency alert requiring that any individual entering a POE (Port of Entry) coming from an affected area must report their flu-like symptoms. Accordingly, all major international ports are adhering to stricter procedures. For example, all travelers must complete an Exit-Entry Health Declaration Form and have their temperatures taken. Those coming from an affected area will have two exams.
Also effective May 4, 2009, issuance of invitation letters will cease for U.S. and Mexican citizens as well as passport-holders who do not live in their home country.
Thankfully, there are no reports of the H1N1 in Singapore.
Effective May 1, 2009, Hong Kong has been under an emergency alert due to a Mexican national traveling through Shanghai. The individual’s quarantine will end today.
As a result, anybody entering Hong Kong must fill out a Health Declaration Form and have their temperatures taken using thermal imaging scans.
Additionally, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government advises against residents traveling to an area that has been infected if their trip is not urgent. If it is necessary to travel, taking extra precautions such as wearing a face mask and carrying alcohol-based hand-cleansers is imperative. In general, avoid contact with anyone appearing to be ill. Also, do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth so as not to spread germs; wash your hands frequently; and, if you find that you have symptoms of a respiratory tract infection and you develop a fever, seek medical attention at once. If you are returning from an affected area, wear a mask for 7 days and regularly monitor your health.
The first case of Swine Flu has now been confirmed in South Korea; thereby, the Korean alert status has been raised. In addition, a travel warning has been issued for travel to Mexico, increased checks are being performed on travelers entering the country, as well as enhanced inspections of pork products.
Customs’ officers at many of the airports and shipping ports have increased their screening processes, and all travelers, upon their arrival, will need to submit a Korean Health Declaration Form.
Effective immediately, India has put out an alert and disease surveillance at all international airports and ports since the WHO considered the Swine Flu as an international, public-health emergency. Travelers who wish to fly to an affected area on a non-essential trip have been advised to cancel their plans.
One method includes tracking down those who arrive in India from Mexico, Canada, France, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Spain and the U.S. Also, passengers will be offered a declaration form so if they wish to voluntarily note their flu-like symptoms, they can do so. Six airports, located in Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bangalore and Goa will have two doctors ready to assist. Health officials are also looking for all travelers who have arrived in India in the past 10 days and will be visiting their residences for a full check-up. In case someone is infected, s/he will be quarantined at the International Airport and will be given the medication, Tamiflu, the drug chosen to treat the illness. Lastly, Delhi, Kolkata, Dibrugarh and Pune are setting up labs to test the suspected samples.
Though Indonesia is another country that has no reported cases to-date, steps are being taken to keep it from entering.
The cabins of planes arriving from affected countries are being sprayed with disinfectants.
Jakarta is now utilizing a thermal body scanner which will detect elevated body temperatures which would make them a candidate for the flu.
Currently, there is no quarantine policy in place, but those who arrive in Indonesia will be required to stay at their home for seven days.
Malaysia is again another country that graciously has been untouched by this epidemic. However, like other countries, they are taking advanced measures such as the installation of thermal scanners at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport and one, which is located at the terminal in Sepang. Many other airports will have similar measures implemented.
A temperature scan will be used and a declaration form filled out for all those entering the country from Australia, Costa Rica, Honduras, New Zealand, Switzerland, Austria, Denmark, Hong Kong, Norway, UK, Argentina, Dominican Rep., Iceland, Panama, Uruguay, Brazil, El Salvador, Ireland, Peru, the U.S., Canada, Finland, Israel, South Africa, Venezuela, Chile, France, Italy, South Korea, Czech Rep., Germany, Mexico, Spain, Colombia, Guatemala, Netherlands and Sweden.
The Bureau of Immigration has not issued a travel ban in the Philippines. Instead, they have been on a heightened alert and have begun to work with the Department of Health (DOH) quarantine officers so as to prevent the flu from coming into their country. Consistent monitoring of those arriving is aiding the officials in this quest. In fact, all personnel at the major ports have been instructed to vaccinate those entering so as to prevent the epidemic from spreading.
It is also mandatory, as stated by the Immigration Chief, to have travelers report their symptoms to the immigration officials. Also, the Philippine Health Department is requiring thermal screening of all inbound passengers at the POEs.
Like Korea, pork products, as well as pigs are banned from entering the Philippines if they are traveling from Mexico or the U.S. This was reinforced recently by the Philippines’ Department of Agriculture. They are also monitoring sick pigs and encouraging the farmers to increase their vaccinations.
As of May 3, 2009, a travel health alert notice is in effect for all passengers arriving from Mexico.
This notice states if a traveler is found to have the flu-like symptoms, s/he will be taken to the hospital. If there are no symptoms, then s/he will be sent home with a list of required health-management procedures to follow for seven days; however, if there are symptoms, s/he will need to stay and receive treatment.
Travelers will need to provide their travel history and Mexican passport-holders will be subject to quarantine measures albeit, this is not being enforced by the International Health Regulations (IHR) nor the WHO.
The influenza A/H1N1 has not spread into Thailand. Intense surveillance and lab-test results will be performed, however. Note that those who are found to have the flu will be treated. Other measures include stockpiling of anti-viral medication, medical supplies, and protective equipment, as well as providing health-warning cards to international travelers and taking temperatures via thermo-scanning.
All travelers entering the country via the Suvranabhumi, Chiengmai and Phuket airports must submit a health declaration form and go through thermal screening.
Fortunately, the UAE and other Arabian Gulf countries are free of the Swine Flu.
They have invested in a supply of 5 million units of the drug, Tamiflu. Moreover, thermal imaging devices and scanners to detect elevated body temperatures were recently installed at both the Dubai International Airport and Abu Dhabi International Airport.
Yet another merciful country that has no reported cases of the H1N1 influenza! At this time, there have been no announcements regarding requirements for visa applications in this regard.
However, travelers may receive a health check if they are from Mexico, USA, Canada, Costa Rica, England, Spain, Germany, Israel, France, Austria, Denmark, Holland, Sweden, Italy, Ireland, New Zealand, Hong Kong, or Korea.
As always, Pro-link Global is here to assist you. Please contact your Global Immigration Consultant with any of your questions or concerns.