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Bahrain action plan to fight flu

Manama, May 13, 2009

Action to counter the threat of swine flu will be discussed today by Bahrain's health authorities and officials at the King Fahad Causeway Authority.

Steps have already been taken at the causeway, but further effort will be exerted to have all loopholes plugged, said Health Ministry public health director Dr Khairya Moosa.

She said arriving and transiting passengers at Bahrain International Airport were already being thoroughly screened and no cases have been found so far.

'We are keen to take all precautions at the land entry point as well,' Dr Moosa told our sister newspaper Gulf Daily News.

She said a second 'fever screening' camera is already in place at the airport.

'This means all passengers who are arriving into, or transiting Bahrain, are being screened,' said Dr Moosa.

'A special quarantine area has also become operational where any suspected cases will be held until they are transferred to hospital.'

Meanwhile, Dr Moosa said there was no ban on pilgrims travelling to Saudi Arabia.

She was responding following a report on a senior cleric in Dubai urging Muslims not to travel to Mecca for the time being and to pray in the open air because of the risk of swine flu infection.

'They have to take general precautions so as to minimise the risk of infection,' said Dr Moosa.

'We have no special advice for them.'

She said the authorities had also held meetings with all private clinics and hospitals over swine flu preparedness and all had assured they were up to the task of reporting any suspected cases.

'We all basically know how to deal with the situation. The meeting was just to reiterate everything is in place,' said Dr Moosa.

She said a special call centre set up to address people's concerns and answer questions on the swine flu has been receiving 'scores of calls'.

'We feel it has been a huge success with most people who want to know what precautions to take in case they travelled to the affected countries.

'We have also seen that people are now calm with regard to the epidemic in certain parts of the world. There is not a lot of concern as it was in the last few weeks.'

Dr Moosa said an intensive media and educational campaign had shown results.

'However, we are as vigilant as ever.'-TradeArabia News Service




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