Quarantine on alert for swine flu travellers
Cruise ships entering NSW waters will be treated as if there is swine flu on board after the A(H1N1) virus was found among passengers on a vessel.
Quarantine protocols tightened following criticism of authorities after they allowed 2,000 passengers from the Pacific Dawn to undergo a voluntary quarantine procedure despite a suspected outbreak.
State Health Minister John Della Bosca said quarantine protocols needed to be stringent: “Forty-eight hours ago there was significant criticism in relation to the action of NSW public health because the measures were too stringent. We were alleged to have been ruining people’s holidays. Sadly, the way things work, 48 hours later, the criticism in some quarters is opposite.”
State chief medical officer Kerry Chant said 18 passengers were later found to have swine flu, including six Queenslanders who had since returned home.
The blanket protocol has been put in place now that the virus has been confirmed in 48 countries.
“With the new information available to us we need to reflect on our practices and we will be treating all cruise ships as if they had swine flu on board and taking appropriate responses,” said Chant.