Monday, February 13, 2012

Flu Scare in New Zealand

In what seems to be a pretty comical story, New Zealand health authorities ordered the immediate isolation of a plane that touched down in Auckland. It was believed that dozens of Japanese students on this flight were carrying a strain of unknown flu virus, and so 73 of these homestay students were kept on the plane hours after it hit the tarmac.

According to the passengers, a pretty frantic investigation ensued, with paramedicals erratically taking temperatures and pulses of the students, and no clear explanation being given from the authorities to the passengers. While it seems funny, about 40 students were found to exhibit mild respiratory symptoms.

The passengers were released approximately 4 hours after landing, and given health services. The whole flurry began when one non-Japanese passenger saw a few Japanese passengers with respiratory symptoms, and thus reported it to the captains on the plane, who then called medical services.

While the Auckland authorities admitted to overreacting, it was much better than underreacting, especially given that 300,000 cases of flu have been reported in Japan in the last week alone.


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