Tag Archives: quarantine

Town Quarantined Following Plague Death; Rains Kill Hundreds

Forced quarantine is becoming the treatment of choice as authorities tackle outbreaks of potentially pandemic contagious diseases. The town of Ziketan near Xinghai in Qinghai has been closed off following the death of a 32-year-old herdsman from pneumonic plague. Eleven other people, all relatives of the dead man, are reported to be infected. Ziketan has a population of 10,000. Hundreds of people around the country who have been suspected of being in contact with victims of swine flu, including tourists, have also been quarantined in recent months.

Meanwhile, Xinhua reports that this rainy season, reckoned to be the heaviest for 70 years, has left 70 dead and 51 missing across a broad swathe of southwest to eastern China since July 24. In all this year, rain storms have  killed 307 people with 113 missing, according to the State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters. The economic cost is put at 46.5 billion yuan ($6.8 billion).

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Swine Flu Quarantine — Prudent or Discrimatory?

China knew SARS and the 2004 outbreak of avian flu in its pigs, made mistakes in dealing with both,  and is trying to make good on those in its reaction to the current outbreak of swine flu. Has it overreacted?

The World Health Organization has criticized Beijing for its quarantining — would forced detention and deportation be a more accurate description? — of groups from Mexico, Canada and other countries identified as  being possible carriers of the virus despite a lack of any symptoms.

On Wednesday, more than 100 Mexican nationals, none of whom had displayed any symptoms of the virus and who were being quarantined at hospitals and hotels in China, were returned home on a chartered government plane.

China also lifted a preventive quarantine on a group of visiting Canadian students, being kept in a Changchun hotel, though, again,  none of the students  displayed any symptoms of the virus. The decision to release the students came after Canada had put on the diplomatic squeeze.

According to the WHO’s latest H1N1 flu situation report (see map below), Hong Kong has had one confirmed case (out of 1,893 worldwide) and no deaths; the mainland, none on either count. h1n1-map

Yet Beijing has has defended its measures, saying an outbreak in the densely populated nation could be catastrophic. As if to prove the point, 119 Chinese nationals stranded in Mexico returned to Shanghai on Wednesday and, though all are healthy, they have all been put in preventive quarantine for a week.

Authorities in the U.S. and Europe wouldn’t, at this point in the pandemic scare, have imposed involuntary quarantines to combat the virus. Has Beijing been prudent or discriminatory?

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