Indonesia quits offering prompt notice of H5N1 cases

first_imgJun 5, 2008 (CIDRAP News) – Indonesia’s health minister said today the government has stopped the practice of promptly notifying global health officials each time it confirms a human H5N1 avian influenza case or death, a move some say will likely hamper efforts to monitor the world’s pandemic risk level.Health Minister Siti Fadilah Supari today confirmed that a 15-year-old girl from Jakarta tested positive for H5N1 avian influenza on May 13 and died the next day, according to a report from the Associated Press (AP). Indonesia’s National Committee for Avian Influenza Control and Pandemic Influenza had previously listed the case as confirmed on its Web site, but the information is apparently no longer listed.The WHO, which typically confirms cases when it receives notifications from health ministries or test results from its collaborating laboratories, has not yet confirmed Indonesia’s most recent case and has not commented on Supari’s decision to stop sending out H5N1 case notifications. The WHO’s last confirmed an Indonesian H5N1 case, in a 3-year old boy who died on Apr 23, on Apr 30.Supari told the AP that the health ministry would not send out H5N1 case confirmations until after they have been reported in the media. However, Reuters reported today that the ministry will announce the death toll from the H5N1 virus only every 6 months.”How does it help us to announce these deaths?” Supari told the AP. “We want to focus now on positive steps and achievements made by the government in fighting bird flu.”She told Reuters that announcements of H5N1 deaths are sometimes misunderstood. “It’s OK not to announce it. Sometimes they only give hurtful comments instead of helping,” she said without further explanation.Indonesia has been hit hardest of any country by the H5N1 virus. According to the WHO’s most recent count, the country has had 133 cases and 108 deaths.The country’s refusal to share timely reports of human H5N1 cases is the latest in a series of controversies that began when Indonesia stopped sharing its H5N1 isolates in early 2007 to protest what it views as a lack of access to affordable H5N1 therapies and vaccines. The WHO has held several meetings to resolve the virus sharing issues, but so far no agreements have been reached.Sharon Sanders, editor-in-chief of FluTrackers, a well-known Web message board that focuses on avian flu developments, told CIDRAP News that Indonesia’s decision to delay H5N1 notifications will obscure what is happening there, which negatively affects the world’s ability to prepare for a pandemic.She said Indonesia’s news blackout would likely have the opposite effect from what the government apparently intends. “Now, there will be intense speculation and generation of rumors surrounding suspicious deaths that have similar symptoms to H5N1 infections,” Sanders said. “False rumors of an H5N1 outbreak have the potential to be even more economically devastating than a government-confirmed outbreak.”Established in early 2006, FluTrackers monitors avian flu developments in several languages from several sources and hosts international discussion forums and resource lists.Sanders said media reports coming out of Indonesia are generally reliable, but have some drawbacks. “In many instances, reported suspicious human cases have little or no follow up, so we are left with gaps in our total picture,” she said.Indonesia’s avian flu news blackout might increase traffic to online avian flu communities, such as FluTrackers and FluWiki, because they translate and analyze Indonesian newspaper reports, blogs, newscasts, and other sources, Sanders said.”FluTrackers will continue to publish what we can; however, we rely on the local sources in Indonesia,” she said. “Since the national government is imposing restrictions on when they confirm human deaths, we are watching for other restrictions such as suppression of the local news media to develop.”last_img read more

Reynolds says temporary surgical abortion ban to save PPE

first_imgJOHNSTON — Governor Kim Reynolds says surgical abortions are included in her temporary ban on elective and non-essential surgeries to preserve medical supplies in the midst of a pandemic.“Making sure that we have the personal protective equipment to care of those Iowans who are on the front lines serving Iowans and those in need,” Reynolds says, “…to make sure that we have our health care providers and our first responders healthy so they can take care of Iowans.”The governor’s proclamation put a halt to all scheduled elective and non-essential surgeries in Iowa until April 16th.“Everyone is making is making sacrifices,” Reynolds says. “Everyone.”Planned Parenthood officials say they are assessing the governor’s action. The organization is suing Texas over a similar order that bans medication abortions as well as surgical abortions. Current Iowa law bans abortions after 20 weeks in a pregnancy, unless the procedure is necessary to save the life of the mother.last_img read more

TRAVEL: HOW BARCELONA DELIVERS THE PERFECT FAMILY BREAK

first_imgBarcelona delivers on all accounts as the perfect family break with its combination of beach, fun park and enough edgy architecture to wow everyone.A short flight time from Belfast International Airport and the holiday starts after a thirty minute ride on the express airport bus into the heart of the city at Plaça de Catalunya.Amid the teeming hub of tour buses, cafes and bars, you can buy a coffee and simply sit in this famous square and people-watch against the backdrop of the illuminated fountains. The kids will enjoy the jugglers, musicians and street theatre as well as watching the gymnastics of the skateboarders although they might have to negotiate a path through the flocks of pigeons that have made the square their home.Just a short distance away is Barcelona’s famous pedestrianised street – La Rambla.Lined with gift shops, human statues, food outlets and hotels, it is a must-do on the tourist trail simply because of its energy and atmosphere.You will also find one of Europe’s famous food markets along this route – La Boqueria. After a stroll around the many stalls of fish, hams and fruit you may have a chance to try the fine tapas at market bar El Pinotxo. Dining out in this part of the city is expensive but you can still get tapas, pizza, falafel, noodles and other street food without blowing the budget.Our tapas experience was excellent and some highlights included the traditional Catalan tomato bread, cuttlefish stew, patatas bravas, spicy prawns and salted cod.We were saving the other traditional Catalan treat of churros and chocolate for another day.The easy-to-use transport system of metro, buses and trains makes Barcelona a true family-friendly city.However, walking does give you the chance to stand awestruck at the masterpieces of Catalan architect Antoni Gaudi. We passed Casa Batlló and La Perdrera every day and every day the kids had to take a photograph.But staring at the work-in-progress of La Sagrada Familia was definitely a wow moment.“And it’s not even finished yet,” declared the youngest.It’s said that when asked why it was taking so long to complete the Bascilica (under construction since 1882) Gaudi replied: “My client is not in a hurry.” After a couple of days sight-seeing, it was time to see another side of the region so we caught the train and an hour and a bit later we arrived at Port Aventura.This was our first time at the theme park but I know we will be back.Walking through the resort with its Hallowe’en decorations in gorgeous sunshine was bliss.The park was filled with pumpkins, giant spiders and there were specially-themed Halloween shows taking place.The lack of queues for any rides was a huge advantage of travelling at this time of year.Despite the Aqua Park being closed for the season, there were enough water rides and heart-thumping roller coasters to keep everyone happy.Screams from the Shambhala, Europe’s tallest roller coaster, were warning enough for the faint hearted to avoid.Our only disappointment was the hot chocolate and churros were not the bestAfter a day of full-on fun, the train home was a chance to catch up on some sleep.One of the best ways to discover Barcelona with children is a hop on/hop off tour bus.There are other fantastic tours including a literary tour, Gaudi tour, Gothic Quarter by Night or you could combine your sightseeing with your workout and do a running tour.For us, the Barcelona Bus Turistic was perfect. It was a chance to relax on the top deck in the sunshine and take in this colourful, exciting city.We hopped off at Park Güell, bought some picnic food and spent a sunny afternoon wondering around this artistic playground with its giant ceramic lizard, columns, mosaics and catacombs.The bus route also included a stop at Camp Nou, the hallowed ground of FC Barcelona.We were also able to change routes and take another tour along the Port area of the city.Tickets for the bus tour for a family of four cost €84.00 but this was a full day of sightseeing and one of our holiday highlights.When and how to go: We went in Halloween week and booked flights well in advance with EasyJet from Belfast International to Barcelona. Two adults and two children for less than €360 return.Book well in advance at www.easyjet.com and you can save even more. Watch out for sales periods for even better offers.Spring and autumn are the best times to visit Barcelona and Portadventura. There are fewer people around at those times, cutting queues to the main sites. And it’s cooler!If you are planning to go in the autumn, there’s more here on Portaventura’s Halloween week.https://www.donegaldaily.com/2013/10/01/travel-portaventura-launches-halloween-horror-experience/Spain is Ireland’s favourite tourist destination. But there’s more to the country than a beach holiday.You can visit www.spain.info and browse through hundreds of great ideas about where to go and what to see.Where to stay: Check tripadvisor.ie for the best deals and advice from other travellers. Expect to pay €100 per night for family rooms.You can get various guided walking tours of Barcelona – including a gothic tour, and a chocolate tour. All reasonable and a must.Visit www.barcelonaturisme.com to find out more.TRAVEL: HOW BARCELONA DELIVERS THE PERFECT FAMILY BREAK was last modified: January 19th, 2014 by John2Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:BarcelonaBelfast International Airportcity breakeasyjetfamily holidayGuideSpanish tourist Boardlast_img read more