x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

National airlines to begin swine flu campaign

The Ministry of Health will provide 50,000 pamphlets, which will be put in the seat pockets of all UAE domestic aircraft, in a bid to help control the disease.

Air passengers will be given pamphlets telling them how they can avoid swine flu and prevent its spread, the Ministry of Health said yesterday. More than 50,000 pamphlets will be put in the seat pockets of all UAE domestic aircraft. The pamphlet, distributed by the Ministry of Health (MoH) and the Dubai Health Authority, will be written in Arabic and English. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has said that air travel has quickened the spread of the swine flu virus, H1N1, across the globe.

Fourteen people in the UAE have contracted swine flu so far, according to the MoH. Most caught the virus abroad. There have been no deaths. A similar public awareness campaign is taking place in Sharjah, where tourism and health authorities are distributing pamphlets about swine flu to hotel guests. The MoH said the pamphlet for air travellers would offer advice to passengers suffering flu-like symptoms. It says they should:

? notify an air hostess; ? cover their face with a tissue while sneezing or coughing; ? throw tissues away after use; ? wash their hands thoroughly with soap and water; ? refrain from touching, hugging, shaking hands or kissing; ? try to stay almost two metres away from other people, and visit a doctor. The MoH said it had ordered enough anti-flu medication to treat everyone in the country. More antiviral drugs will arrive in September.

Thermal scanners have been installed at UAE airports to detect passengers who have higher than normal body temperatures. Globally, almost 90,000 cases of swine flu and 382 deaths have been confirmed by the WHO. Last month, UN health officials officially declared swine flu to be a pandemic, the first such outbreak in 40 years. So far, 74 countries have been affected. jgerson@thenational.ae