Gypsy's Travels


Monday, June 1, 2009

"Swine Flu?"


The "Swine Flu" scare or N1H1 as some prefer to call it, was just getting warmed up as I arrived at my transfer point in Tokyo on my way to Bangkok. I had to to change planes, but Japan was running scared after having a whole flu season named after them one year (Asian Flu), so they were taking no chances. We were captive in our seat belts as a large crew of men and women passed through the cabin like a swarm of ants. They were gloved, gowned, masked, and had taken all precautions they could think of to protect themselves from us. The first person led the way with a thermographic camera. He was followed by others who accepted ,with gloved hands, the questionnaires we had been required to fill in and who asked us specific questions.
"You...fever?" asked with a hand to her forehead and a 'sick' look.
"No."
"You...(koff, koff)?" placing a gloved hand genteelly over her mouth.
"No."
"O.K."

As we deplaned, one of the workers held a large, open bag out to us and appeared to be frantically tying to get us to take a mask and wear it. I wondered if the workers realized the masks they, and half of Japan, wore would not screen out any virus (which is what causes the flu).

We went through similar examinations on each airport arrival for almost two weeks. I did not know there were so many different types of high-tech thermometers and I never did meet anyone with a flu of any kind.
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