The latest headline on the swine flu: China Forces Dozens of Mexican Travelers Into Quarantine
The A/H1N1 flu outbreak is leading to a potential diplomatic row between China and Mexico, as Chinese health authorities round up and quarantine scores of Mexicans — only one of whom is thus far reported to be sick — as they fly in on business and holiday trips.
Mexico’s foreign minister said Mexican citizens with no signs of infection had been isolated in “unacceptable conditions” in China. Patricia Espinosa told a news conference Saturday that such measures were “discriminatory and ungrounded” and that the government is advising Mexicans to stay away from China.
She also criticized four Latin American countries — Argentina, Peru, Ecuador and Cuba — for suspending flights coming from Mexico against the recommendation of the World Health Organization.
More than 70 Mexicans are in isolation around China, according to Mexican officials, and that number is rising as Mexican travelers call in to their embassy to report their plight.
China has been rounding up all travelers aboard an AeroMéxico flight that arrived Thursday in Shanghai from Mexico with a 25-year-old Mexican man, who is now ill with human swine flu in Hong Kong. He is the only known Mexican sufferer in China to date. However, Mexicans on other flights say they have been singled out for harsh treatment.
Gustavo Carrillo, a 36-year-old manager of a Mexican technology company in China who lives in Beijing, was taken off his Continental Airlines plane Saturday and rushed into quarantine at a Beijing hotel. He had traveled to the U.S. from China on a business trip and hadn’t visited Mexico.
Mr. Carrillo said health officials took the temperatures of other passengers after the plane landed, but didn’t check his after they saw his Mexican passport. Instead, they led him down the aisle past gawking passengers. “It was embarrassing and humiliating,” he said.
Mexicans who were on the flight to Shanghai with the 25-year-old flu victim complain about how China has enforced its quarantine, offering little information and only basic medical testing. Among them is a family of five, including three young children, who transited to Beijing. They were roused from their hotel room in the Chinese capital in the early hours of Saturday and whisked to an infectious diseases hospital. There, according to the father, Carlos Doormann, AeroMéxico’s finance director, they were isolated in a room with bloodstained sheets and what appeared to be mucus smeared on the walls.
While this is happening, James Fallows reports that
the relief flight to take stranded Chinese citizens back home from Mexico, announced yesterday, has been canceled because of trouble reaching “landing agreements” with Mexican airport authorities.
The hysteria continues.
And no, I couldn’t resist that post title.
In today’s podcast at 11AM Eastern Michael Fumento talks about his article, The Price Of A Porcine Panic: A gut punch to the economy.
Michael, who has written several books on pandemics, has kept an eye on the swine flu news:
Early Calculations Show Swine Flu Hard to Transmit
Mexico’s Devastating Failure to Compare Swine Flu to Seasonal Flu
So just how lethal is swine flu?
More posts at Fumento.com
You can listen to the podcast here, and it’s archived for your convenience.