Thursday, September 22, 2005

Indonesia Announces Forced Quarantines For Suspected Infected

Calls For Mass Poultry Culls Resisted

Australian Prime Minister Confirms Quarantine Zones Set Up Near Airports

September 20

Indonesian President Yudhoyono held an emergency cabinet meeting today to rush through hard measures to try and stop a possible outbreak of human bird flu infection from spreading.

Any person suspected of having been exposed to infection will be forced into one of the 44 hospitals that are being quickly converted into quarantine centres.

The Indonesian Health Ministry warned there will be more cases of bird-flu infected humans.

Indonesia is resisting calls by the World Health Organisation for a mass cull of poultry in all infected provinces. WHO estimates Indonesia will need at least $250 million now to start the culls, but the Indonesian government is holding off ramping up the WHO plan.

They don’t have the money and they don’t see such a move as being a total necessity, as the Indonesian Welfare Minister, Alwi Shihab pointed out, “...we cannot take it for granted that this is only an Indonesian issue. This is a global issue.”

Virologist, Dr Alan Hampson told Australia’s SBS World News today, “The virus is spreading at the moment and, I guess, the opportunities are just getting greater and greater for it to actually adapt to humans.”

Australian Prime Minister, John Howard, has confirmed the stockpiling of anti-virals and that strict quarantine measures are already in place in Australia, which would includes forced confinement into quarantine zones of the suspected infected.

“I am confident that measures adequate to the threat have been taken but it's one of those things that we must keep our focus on,” Howard told SBS.

In the vicinity of all six of Australia’s international airports, buildings have been fitted out to act as emergency quarantine zones, with an average of 500 beds in each. In the event of a pandemic, thousands of arrivees into Australia will be quarantined for tests to see if they are infected with bird flu.

As in Indonesia, these quarantine zones will be secured by armed guards, not only to keep the suspected infected inside, but to keep out desperate relatives who may try and get in to see their loved ones.

Below : Testing for Bird Flu in Jakarta hospital


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