What Will Happen If I Travel to China During H1N1 Flu?

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You may have read that New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin was just quarantined with his wife and a member of his staff after sitting near an ill passenger on a flight to China. While only a very small number of people have been quarantined upon arrival, we thought we’d post the information we know about the H1N1 flu to give travelers to China an idea of what to expect.

With the SARs experience still very fresh, the government is taking strong precautionary measures to prevent a local outbreak. Some visits to local villages or schools may be cancelled as there is concern that “foreigners” have a higher risk of being carriers of the swine flu. There has been an upgrade of hygiene throughout the country, with restaurants/hotels providing more sanitary dispensers, towels etc.

While the majority of people travel into China without problem, we did have a client who was on a flight  with a confirmed H1N1 carrier.  As the client was not sitting within 3 rows of the passengers, the client was allowed to continue on his journey.  However, health authorities followed up with 2 calls a day to our tour guide to check on symptoms.

Ministry of Health officials have boarded certain planes, depending on their origin and if any sick passengers are on board. In such cases, these officials are measuring all passengers’ temperatures and inspecting required health forms carefully before allowing them to disembark as a group. If officials determine that sick passengers or those in contact with them have the potential of being infected with A(H1N1), they are quarantining them for up to 7 days. So far, we understand that only a very small percentage of all international arrivals have been quarantined.

The US Embassy in Beijing has posted a long, informative letter with information including the procedures the Chinese government is using to determine if anyone on your flight is sick, what to do if you are quarantined, and who to contact.

While we don’t think there are serious health risks involving travel to China, as with any sort of traveling you might do, anywhere in the world, be aware that you might experience delays or inconveniences. At WildChina, we’re working hard to make our guests trips to China once-in-a-lifetime adventures. We’ve run numerous trips since the outbreak of H1N1 flu with no flu-related issues, and invite you to experience China differently, H1N1 flu or not!

For more health information on the H1N1 flu, visit the World Health Organization site.

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