Swine Flu: Millions of Britons face being put in quarantine this summer

Global Research Editor’s Note

The British government supported by the UK media is creating an atmosphere of fear and initimidation.

A pandemic in the UK is said to be imminent affecting a large sector of the British population. There is no evidence which supports these statements. The objective is to convince the British public that vaccination is the solution.


by Mark Reynolds and Louise Barnett

MILLIONS of Britons face being put in quarantine this summer as the swine flu pandemic takes hold, experts warned yesterday.

With the massive scale of the outbreak becoming clearer, bans on travelling abroad over the holiday months could affect six million people, or 10 per cent of the population.

The knock-on effects will deliver a hammer blow to the travel industry, with millions of pounds lost during the peak season and insurance companies facing a deluge of claims.

An estimated five million Britons are due to take foreign breaks in August alone. But the spread of the deadly H1N1 virus could lead to mass cancellations.

Both the Foreign Office and Health Protection Agency are advising anyone carrying the H1N1 strain to remain at home.

A spokesman for the Association of British Travel Agents said last night: “If you feel unwell, have a high fever, cough or sore throat, you should stay at home and keep away from work, school or crowds as much as possible.”

The warnings come as Chief Medical Officer Sir Liam Donaldson predicted that by the end of August up to 10 per cent of the population could be infected with swine flu.

Even more alarming, up to 30 per cent of the population – around 18 million people – could suffer the effects of the illness during the autumn and winter.

It is estimated that such a high infection rate could result in 65,000 deaths in Britain.

The first deliveries of swine flu vaccines are due to arrive next month for high-risk groups.

But last night experts warned that foreign pharmaceutical companies may break their contracts to supply vaccines to Britain.

Pressure on governments to prevent the vital drugs being sent to the UK if their own populations are suffering could be very high, particularly if death rates increase.

The problem is particularly worrying for Britain, which relies on foreign pharmaceutical firms for all of its flu vaccines.

Private contracts will not be bound by international law and most contracts will contain a clause allowing them to be broken under extraordinary circumstances, such as a health emergency.

Biochemical engineering expert Professor Peter Dunhill, of University College London, said in such a scenario foreign governments would have to bow to public pressure and stop shipments.

“Pharmaceutical companies will not want to constrain availability to the most powerful buyers in the drugs markets. But they may find that governments just dictate,” he added.

Quarantine measures are already starting to spring up both in the UK and across the world.

Some nations have even started warning citizens about the “dangers” of travelling to the UK following the 28 deaths here so far.

The Foreign Office says that people should not even board a plane if they fear they might be ill since they could find themselves quarantined on arrival in the foreign country.

A spokesman said: “Medical screening for the swine flu virus has been introduced by local authorities at several airports for passengers arriving on international flights.

“Containment measures may be introduced or changed with little or no notice. You may be required to undergo further tests if you show flu-like symptoms.

“British nationals who find themselves quarantined overseas should contact their nearest British Embassy or Consulate who will be able to offer consular assistance, though access may be limited due to the quarantine restrictions.”

Anyone travelling to Turkey, France and China in particular will now be screened for swine flu at airports, the FO warned.

The French – who have had no deaths so far – have advised youngsters to think twice about travelling to Britain to study this summer.

A spokesman for the French education department said: “At the moment it’s up to people to make their own decisions but the situation in Britain is clearly very serious.”

The Italian Foreign Ministry has also added Britain to its travel warning website.

Meanwhile, British holidaymakers are being advised to check their insurance policies before they travel. Industry experts warned that those who contract swine flu before or during a trip abroad will lose money if insurers refuse to pay out on policies that exclude pandemics.

The Association of British Insurers said that healthy travellers who cancelled trips simply because they were worried about swine flu – or who already had symptoms when they took out a policy – would not be covered.

Twenty-five people have died in England from swine flu and three in Scotland so far, while the number of patients in hospital with the virus has doubled in the last week. The Health Protection Agency estimates there were 55,000 new cases in England alone in the last week.

According to research published in the Nature journal earlier this week, swine flu is five times more harmful than normal seasonal flu, penetrating deeper into the lungs,

As the public reacts to the growing crisis, NHS Direct is currently taking 93,000 calls a day, 86,000 more than usual.

Articles by: Global Research

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