Swine Flu and Schools

It is reassuring that the government is fully conscious of the dangers of the swine flu epidemic. Efforts on its part to contemplate a strategy for eradicating the deadly virus are laudable.

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Published: Sat 29 Aug 2009, 12:11 AM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 12:29 AM

It has, at least, succeeded in limiting its spread in the emirates, and has done a commendable job in quarantining and treating affected patients. However, its major test will come when schools reopen, and hundreds and thousands of students and faculty members, many of whom had travelled back home, come together. This is why the government is cautious, and wants to ensure that the flu is checked.

The Ministry of Health has come up with a comprehensive plan. Its intention is to provide suggestions to schools on how to identify and contain the pandemic. Fearing a hike in the number of H1N1 cases, the ministry has reportedly evolved a four-pronged plan of prevention, treatment, awareness and training.

The most promising aspect is that the government believes in fighting the disease, rather than running away from it. Which is why it has no plans to delay the reopening of schools, or to close them for an indefinite period. This speaks of its confidence and trust in the built-in cushion of detecting and treating cases instantly. Besides, it is planning to vaccinate citizens and it is a campaign best begun where numbers congregate.

The viral breakout has killed more than 1800 people worldwide — and that too within a span of three months. It has played havoc in poor countries, and thrives as a silent killer where populations are also fighting AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis. Perhaps, this has acted as a driver in the government’s desire to closely monitor schools. The reason: expatriate students, teaching staff and citizens who might have travelled to developing countries are prone to contract the flu.

We hope government directives and ensuing vigilance in schools will help ensure a swine flu-free environment. The crisis is real, and it is a good sign that no laxity is being shown in recognising and repelling the disease.

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