Talking Points: 28 April

mexico-city4The swine flu epidemic can no longer be contained and the World Health Organization has raised it’s alert level after more people have died in Mexico. 152 people are now dead there, and suspected cases in the US have nearly doubled.

Three more cases have been confirmed in Dallas. A woman from Michigan may have caught it. There are 10 more possible cases in Queensland. And airports in Cambodia are re-installing thermal scanners that were used during the bird flu outbreak.

The UN’s FAO is sending teams of experts to find out if the virus has a direct connection to pig farming. But this farmers newspaper in the UK says there’s no link. What do you think is causing it?

Ros and the team are live from Mexico again on WHYS today, and then they have to fly straight home to the UK and go into quarantine for a week. What are your fears about swine flu? What are the best ways to stop it spreading? Do you think people should stop travelling?

Amnesty International says thousands of people are running away from their homes in Pakistan because of fighting between security forces and the Taleban.

Pakistan’s President has reassured the world their nuclear weapons are ‘in safe hands’. That’s after Hillary Clinton said the situation threatens global security.

But do poor people in the coutryside see the Taleban as an Islamic Robin Hood? Should the Pakistan government attack the Taleban in Pakistan? Will this threaten the world or make it safer?

6 Responses to “Talking Points: 28 April”

  1. 1 Donnamarie in Switzerland
    April 28, 2009 at 12:59

    Just as human mishandling of livestock was the cause of BSE (Mad Cow Disease), it seems extremely likely that that’s the cause of the Swine Flu pandemic.

    I’m glad WHYS is doing a second programme on the outbreak, as what to do about the problem cannot be repeated often enough. Do not travel if you don’t need to, and delay necessary travel if possible. Cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze. Keep your distance. Wash your hands frequently. If you feel flu-like symptoms, contact your doctor.

    I hope WHYS addresses the issue of hysteria surrounding the outbreak. Yesterday I heard that a country (I didn’t hear which one) banned imports of American pork. I don’t eat pork (or beef for that matter) but if I did, I would choose not to until the origin of the outbreak is identified. But hysterical and totally unwarranted bans or other government-imposed measures taken without evidence help no one.

    As for me personally, I live in a small mountain town in the Swiss hinterland and have no plans to travel. Even so, I will cover my mouth and nose when I cough or sneeze, keep my distance, wash my hands frequently and if I feel flu-like symptoms I will call my doctor.

  2. 2 Steve in Boston
    April 28, 2009 at 13:21

    I don’t think it’s quite panic time. The number of new cases in Mexico has been steadily declining for the last several days, and most people are reported to be having mild symptoms. I think the worst that will happen is a lot of people are going to have a few weeks of their summer vacations ruined. Some people may die, but in the US it’s normal for 36,000 people to die of flu-related causes every year. Such is life.

  3. 3 nora
    April 28, 2009 at 13:26

    The needs of commerce and the needs of common sense are often at odds. If we stop taking the train or bus and stop flying, we can limit the spread of the disease, but most employers will not go for that in a competitive economy. Most people do not have the resources to stay home for very long, so communities need civil defense strategies that we don’t have in place.

    Here in California, we are one long extension of Mexico, so we need to share what we can to help Mexico with the Swine Flu, and recognize that the Flu does not discriminate or see differences between ethnic groups or sides of artificially created national borders.

    I have already heard a frightened Spanish speaker question whether wealthy US haters who want a closed border could have cooked the Flu in a lab.

  4. 4 parth guragain,Nepal
    April 28, 2009 at 13:31

    what i think is it is a deadly strain of virus and have a potential of being a global pandemic.as the focus of disease is Mexico and USA It have more chances of spreading world wide as people from all part of world travel there.but what i want to say in this world of 24hrs news these things are used by media to spread panic rather than spreading knowledge to people about the disease.news regarding these items should be based on scientific rather than baseless rumor.i hope media will act responsibilly.

    April 28, 2009 at 13:48

    I think more people should avoid traveling to that destination though but there is no need to panick. The locals too are exposed to the said virus but know their way around and may get help easier and so can anyone who may seek their advice.
    People should be careful of overeacting to situations like this. BBC teams should be there reporting so that we can get better and balanced news on the situation. We also believe they are better prepared on how to be precautious and know where to get the right answers. Reporting about it is one way of treating the fears generated by too much publicity.

  6. 6 globalcomedy
    April 29, 2009 at 06:47

    The WHO has raised it’s warning level to 4 (6 being the highest). And sadly, in the States I think many people rate this as the same as Homeland Security’s terrorist color code warnings.

    In parts of Asia, it’s culturally normal for people to wear masks when they’re sick. When I lived there I got used to it. Now, if millions of people wore masks in the U.K. and the States, how would the MSM report that? Would they concentrate on the facts of the situation? Or, would we see the same clips played constantly? Many countries have ratings sweeps where advertising rates are then set (based on results). What stories do you see in these periods? The most sensationist stuff. Brace yourself for it.

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