While the Swine Flu scare has died down in the US, China seems to still be in full panic mode, grabbing people with fevers off of just-landed jets and whisking them off to quarantine hospitals. I know some people whose visiting friends were locked up at a golf resort because they had been on a flight with someone who later tested positive for the bugger.
Fahrenheit, a mere 0.3 degrees above the benchmark for normal, would
hardly be cause for alarm. But to the Chinese medical officials who
boarded his flight last week to search for passengers with signs of
swine flu, it was enough to deem him a public health threat.
Gomez, a 29-year-old Alexandria native, was separated from his wife,
ordered to put on a mask and rushed by ambulance to a quarantine
facility near the airport.
"I was feeling a little scared," Gomez recalled, "mainly because I had no way of contacting anyone."
Although he was eventually found to be free of any serious illness,
including swine flu, Gomez spent three days confined in an infectious
disease ward. He did not see a single uncovered human face his entire
Doctors and nurses in head-to-toe biohazard suits sampled his blood,
swabbed his throat and came into his room every few hours to test his
temperature. Anonymous hands pushed meals through a small hole.
Receptionists wearing masks passed messages to him by rapping on his
only window, which faced inside the facility so he could be observed
around the clock.
Oh dear…..I'm flying back to Beijing today. I sure hope I don't end up being thrown into Ditan Hospital for the weekend. I'm not likely to have a fever when I arrive, but I do intend to rub ice cubes all over my face just before we land. And I will not cough! Or sneeze.