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Travel Alert: Cuba Joins Swine Flu Quarantine

The U.S. government recently released a travel alert to all Americans traveling to Cuba -- the country is now implementing a H1N1, or swine flu, quarantine on all passengers, domestic or international, who seem to have flu symptoms. While U.S. carriers are also screening passengers and not allowing them to board, Cuban authorities can send the coughing, sneezing person to be seen by medical staff. Based on their findings, the passenger could be treated or quarantined in a local hospital, usually around six days. (The Department of State said it can't interfere if someone is quarantined.)

Last month, the State Department issued a similar travel warning for H1N1 quarantine in China, also stating that Chinese facilities may mean "unavailability of suitable drinking water and food; unsanitary conditions" as well as "absence of English-speaking staff." I think Cuba came off better in their warning, at least the State Department didn't cast aspersions on their cleanliness.

What does this mean? It means that the travel alert could mean fewer Americans and Europeans will travel to both countries, for fear of being stuck in a hospital for a week. Is there any chance both countries might have a "flu ferry" twice a week to send those afflicted passengers to their home countries? The flight staff on the plane would all have their swine flu shots, of course, but the higher fare could more than pay for them.

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