News From Indonesia

Swine Flu Checks in Palembang Continue

Posted in Blogroll by artemisays on May 26, 2009

Passengers from an international flight have their temperature checked as they pass a thermal scanner monitor upon arrival at the Adi Sucipto International Airport on May 1, 2009 in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. The World Health Organisation has issued a phase five Swine Influenza Virus (SIV) pandemic warning following the outbreak with positive reports of the virus spreading to the United States of America, United Kingdom and Europe.

A thermal imaging scanner on Yogyakarta is more high tech than Palembang’s manual thermometers. Image from Zambio pictures. (Photo by Ulet Ifansasti/Getty Images AsiaPac)

Swine flu is still considered a risk to Indonesia, despite the health minister claiming Indonesia’s climate would ‘sheild’ them from the flu virus.

Palembang airport staff continue to patiently check each overseas traveller manually, as thermal scanners are not available to the small airport.

Palembang airport does not receive much traffic as it only services passengers travelling between Singapore and Kuala Lumpur.

Palembang international airport (Mahmud Bahdaruddin) is using hand held thermometers pressed to the head of each individual to check for high temperatures.

Passengers on incoming flights are given a form to fill out, that requires them to declare whether they have been to or been in contact with people from infected countries such as the Americas, Australia and Spain.

Mr Hamid, the Operations Manager said that they have so far not denied any passenger entry into Palembang, and that it is the health office that organises the procedures around checking and enforcing swine flu control measures.

“The Health Office has the authority to tell us to check passengers from abroad. They check passengers according to temperature. They are the ones dealing with the swine flu and it is up to them when they will stop the checks,” he said.

Dr Galil from Kantor Kesehataan Pelubahan, (Health ServicesOffice), said that they will continue to check until they too receive the order to stop when conditions are safe.

“Until now we haven’t had any passengers who have been sick, not even any with a high temperature,” he said today.

Dr Siti Fadilah Supari, Indonesia’s Health Minister, quoted in an ABC report, said that Spanish people were probably more at risk than Indonesians.

“We hope that H1N1 is not compatible with Indonesians,” she said.

“H1N1 may be more compatible with their race, while H5N1 is more compatible with Indonesians.”

WHO said race based vulnerabilities are not substantiated by any evidence as H1N1 is still a new strain.

Dr Supari also said Indonesia is sheilded by its hot climate and the H1N1 virus thrives in colder climates, but Ms Dijakovic, communications spokesperson from WHO, points out that in Indonesia the flu season is continuous. 

The swine flu began in Mexico, also a hot climate.

Nonetheless, on April 30th, the Health Service for Palembang acted quickly, informing all Community Health Services of the symptoms and possibility of  swine flu infections.

Gema Asiani, Head of Health Services, said that Palembang does not have any pig livestock and that any infections would likely be from human to human circulation.

Indonesia has banned pork imports and is suryeying its pigs.

 Pigs line up to eat at a trough at a farm on May 1, 2009 in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. The World Health Organisation has issued a phase five Swine Influenza Virus (SIV) pandemic warning following the outbreak with positive reports of the virus spreading to the United States of America, United Kingdom and Europe.

Pigs at a farm in Yogyakarta. Image from Zimbio pictures. (Photo by Ulet Ifansasti/Getty Images AsiaPac)

References:

ABC Australia online

E Government- Palembang news

Mahmud Bahdaruddin International Airport Operations Manager Mr Iskander Hamid

Palembang Health Services Office, Dr Galil

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