Friday, May 1, 2009
Stockpile but dont panic
The news on today’s Sydney Herald didn’t go down well with my bacon and egg breakfast this morning. It has reported that Australians are being advised to stockpile food and water to last for 14 days after the World Health Organisation yesterday raised the swine flu alert to phase five, signaling imminent pandemic. At the same time, it also reported that a spokesman for the Department of Health and Aging called for calm, saying the Government did not want to spark panic buying. According to the Federal Government’s Plan, a 132-page manual, insist that once the world reaches phase five, Australian should stock their pantry with food and bottled water to last 14 days, check on elderly neighbours and put emergency numbers by the phone. Even though, I am receiving conflicting messages, I couldn’t help but to check on my emergency kit such as batteries, flashlight, first aid, food and water are in order. A habit I have inherited from living in Papua New Guinea where cyclones cause havocs to the local populace during the annual cyclone season.
Although we know that influenza pandemics are natural phenomenon that have occurred from time to time for centuries – and yet the current outbreak of swine flu which originated from Mexico is indeed a worry to everyone of us. It may present a real and daunting challenge to the economic and social wellbeing of any country, as well as a serious risk to the health of its population. In light of today’s jet travel, it is inevitable that we are thinking about the possibility of the virus hitching a ride, to reach us as fast the plane can fly. To be continued...