Commenting on the current developments regarding the swine influenza outbreak, Dr. Ghassan Aïdi, President of the International Hotel & Restaurant Association “IH&RA” informs on the importance of the safety and well-being of the hospitality industry and confirms that the IH&RA is working closely together with the Tourism Emergency Response Network “TERN” partners, the United Nation World Tourism Organization “UNWTO”, the World Health Organization “WHO” and sharing views on the matter on continuous basis. Dr. Ghassan Aïdi also said, this ensures first that the special situation of the hospitality industry is taken fully into account in “WHO” considerations and that the industry is able to provide the best and most accurate advice to travelers, limiting the impacts on the travel and tourism industry.The World Health Organization “WHO” leading the international effort to respond to the spread of swine flu, has now moved the “Alert Level” from phase 4 to 5. This means that governments must activate all plans for a likely global pandemic. It also means that the private sector should take all possible precautionary measures, commented Dr. Ghassan Aïdi. He did mention also that the IH&RA together with the UNWTO and the “WHO” considers that containment of the outbreak is not feasible and that there is not any recommended restriction - The current focus should be on mitigation measures and that there is not at present any recommendation on restriction of International or National travel, and no close of bordure. As usual it is considered prudent for people who are ill to delay international travel and for people developing symptoms following international travel to seek medical attention.
Regarding the risk of being infected by an influenza virus, travelers are advised, whenever possible, to avoid crowded enclosed spaces and close contact with people suffering from acute respiratory infections. Hand-washing after direct contact with ill persons or their environment may reduce the risk of illness. Ill persons should be encouraged to practice cough etiquette (maintain distance, cover cough and sneezes with disposable tissues or closing, wash hands).
IH&RA will continue monitoring the evolution of the swine influenza together with her partners and other industry stakeholders in order to ensure a prompt dissemination of any further updates.