My regular readers will know that I am very poor at surfing the Internet, but I suspect that I am not alone in that. One of my grandchildren has taken his whole family on holiday to Spain. I’m not a person to panic, I weigh up the odds and then make a decision. On television yesterday there was a longer than usual piece about the swine flu epidemic and how they were changing the risk level. This prompted me to go and find general geographical information about the densities of the cases on the Internet, so that I could have some idea of the risks that my family was taking.
I remember strikingly, those first visuals of the people coming from the various overseas destinations where the flu was at its highest, like Mexico. At the time I was amazed that a flight of people coming from there seemed to be allowed to arrive, collect their baggage, and mingle with the population of the airport, the underground railway and all the other conditions without hindrance. It was obvious to me that this would cause pockets of people who could have been infected, or were infected, and the result was that almost immediately schools were closed.
I tried to find out this morning, on the Internet, what was the protocol in GB for dealing with people coming from flu hotspots. I also hunted for simple advice in easy sentences, about what were the hotspots, and the foreign office advice concerning those locations. I found myself in a multi-page maze of information on everything but what I wanted. I don’t doubt that if I were prepared to sit here for an hour or two I might just be able to winkle out the information that I’m looking for, which is the risk factor in certain parts of the world that I might have if I choose to have it as a holiday destination. In addition I tried to find without success, in simple terms, as a regional list, the restrictions that would be placed upon me if I went abroad to one of these areas, and those that I would be subjected to on return. I not only consider these questions sensible, I think that they are essential so that people who are concerned not only for themselves but their effect on others, can make sensible, reasoned and reasonably accurate decisions on a percentage risk basis. Some travel is essential, there is no doubt about that, but I consider that travelling on holiday is a non-essential, compared with even a minor risk that one could be infected, and infect others. The fact of the circulation of the air within the aeroplane is a factor, not to be ignored. We are told, like all other pandemics, this one will die down and disappear eventually. Am I wrong in thinking that it is more sensible to go somewhere that is free of risk, or better still stay at home, until the risk is zero?
Am I making a fuss about nothing? A whole school being forced to close, seems a high price to pay for one sample of ten days on a foreign beach