Following the first confirmed case of swine flu (A/H1N1) in the Gulf States, people in the other states, such as Saudi Arabia, are getting very worried. It’s not reached a state of panic yet, nor need it.
Arab News reports that traffic across the King Fahd Causeway that links the two countries has slowed:
MANAMA: Bahraini authorities yesterday assured members of the public that all of the country’s entry and exit points were being closely monitored to prevent swine flu from entering.
This follows reports that several Saudis canceled or postponed their trip to Bahrain after news that the island’s first confirmed case of swine flu was detected on Monday.
“We have stepped up vigil at all of the island’s entry and exit points. Officials at the King Fahd Causeway are also taking all precautionary measures such as wearing gloves and masks,” a Health Ministry spokesperson said.
Many Saudi families who planned to visit the island during the weekend have canceled or postponed trips. “When I heard about swine flu in Bahrain on the radio, I canceled my trip. There are several other Saudis who retuned to Dammam immediately after the news broke,” said Nasser Salim.
Saudi Gazette/Okaz report that the Saudi government has heightened its surveillance of in-bound travelers:
Swine flu: Preventive measures at Causeway
DAMMAM – A King Fahd Causeway official has said that the Ministry of Health is working with Bahraini authorities to prevent a transmission of the swine flu virus between the two countries.
The source said that the Causeway Authority had set up a quarantine facility at the crossing point to isolate any persons suspected of carrying the virus.
Most persons leaving the Kingdom for the neighboring country were, according to the source, of Bahraini nationality.
The head of the Transport Committee at the Eastern Province Chamber of Commerce said that truck drivers carrying exported goods had been given strict health guidelines to follow in order to ward off the threat of swine flu.
As of now, the flu seems to be very treatable and neither particularly virulent nor easily transmitted. That could change with further evolution of the virus—something very much of concern to the WHO and CDC—but at present, should not require dramatic measures.