Monday, May 11, 2009

Swine Flu Quarantine for Travellers into Egypt?

There have been some rumors in some parts of the world about Travelers into Egypt being Quarantined. Today I received the same question from 3 different people. Is Egypt quarantining Air travelers and for how long? Since this may be a question that others would like an answer to as well, I am posting it on my blog.

The question of quarantine in Egypt may have arisen, from articles such as this one.

1. From My Personal Experience - 4 May 09:
I flew back to Egypt on the 4th of May from Lebanon. There were about 40 women in masks and gloves standing at the entry into the terminal building when we got off the shuttle bus. They had clipboards in hand. From the bus it looked to us like the terminal was full and it would take forever to complete Immigration. But it was just these women standing around that gave the impression of a huge crowd.

All the passengers walked past these women and went straight to the Immigration desks. The Women did not stop anyone.

The Immigration officials were wearing latex gloves and that was the extent of the precautions that we saw at the Cairo airport.

2. My Husbands Experience - 10 May 09:
My Husband returned from Istanbul, Turkey today. He said that there was a similar crowd of masked women at the terminal building. They seemed to have paired themselves in two's and were asking for passenger passports. My husband handed over his passport to them. The two women did a lot of giggling as they flipped through his passport and then they let him move on to Immigration. He did not fathom what they were looking for. I sincerely hope that they were perhaps looking for proof that the passenger had not passed through Mexico or other badly affected countries, recently.

The Immigration officials were no longer wearing latex gloves.

We both have Resident Visas for Cairo and have been living here for almost 3 years. But we frequently travel in and out of the country.

3. I heard from someone who arrived on the 8th of May 09, that he was asked to fill a form with Name, Address in Egypt and Nationality. Thermometer strips were then used (and reused) to take the passengers temperatures before letting them through.

I have not yet heard of any person being quarantined for the virus, so I would say that it is still safe to travel into Cairo without fear of enforced bed rest at a hospital.

I will keep you informed if any new information comes up that is significant to this issue.

Added on 13 May 09:
International SOS reports:
The government has ordered a psychiatric hospital near Cairo International Airport (CAI) to be converted into a quarantine centre for passengers suspected of infection.


Anonymous said...

My family travelled to Sharm El Sheik on Sunday 17th October, 2009, My eldest Son was pulled from out of the queue at the airport - he was picked out by a thermal heat camera! they took his temperature and it was 38! we were told that we would have to go to the hospital for an hour or two but when we got there it soon became obvious that we would be there at leat over night, as the results from the throat swab would not be back until 4pm on Monday 18th October. the results came back -positive for swine flu. The same result for the other two kids in our room! the hospital was filthy, had previously been a closed down part of the hospital and reopened for the quarantine. I had to share a single bed with my 13 year old son (same height as myself) no airconditioning - as broken! we all got mosquito bites. we slept in our clothes - the food was terrible. luckily our hotel sent food for me and my son but the other 5 people in our room did not have the same luxury and we shared our food with them.

One little girl in our room was sick on the Monday night about 10pm, the tamiflu given to her made her sick - she was sick all over the floor, this was not cleaned up until about 10am the following day!! i eventually had to brave the shower in the filthy bathroom - the water was yellow! we ran out of toilet paper and was given paper napkins! William had to have 10 doses of tamiflu - 2 per day. we were eventually discharged on the Thursday night at 9pm!

So yes, you may be detained in hospital if you have a temperature!

Anonymous said...

Exactly the same happened to my 11 year old daughter recently. She was temperature scanned and taken, along with my husband, to the hospital. We too, were led to believe it to be for an hour or two. My daughter apparently tested positive for swine flu (although we do not believe this to be true - she was not ill) and had to endure 5 days in the awful Pyramid Hospital. It was filthy. Her passport was detained and we had no choice but to stay there. It was the worst few days of my life and totally ruined our holiday and experience of Egypt. Never again.

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