From The Seattle Times:
China wants to take this swine flu threat seriously after it botched SARS in 2003. At least the selection of who to quarantine is now based on showing symptoms rather than what country a person is from.
Image from Beijingolympicsfan.com
The U.S. State Department has issued a travel alert about China's anti-flu measures that have led to some travelers being quarantined for a week.
China is imposing the seven-day quarantine on passengers arriving with a fever or flu-like symptoms in order to prevent the spread of swine flu.
"Although the proportion of arriving Americans being quarantined remains low, the random nature of the selection process increases the uncertainty surrounding travel to China," the State Department said Monday in regard to China's H1N1 (swine-flu) procedures.
The mayor of New Orleans, Ray Nagin, was quarantined earlier this month for several days in Shanghai after arriving on a plane that carried a passenger who had symptoms of the virus. Nagin and his travel companions were symptom-free.
"The selection process focuses on those sitting in close proximity to another traveler exhibiting fever or flu-like symptoms or on those displaying an elevated temperature if arriving from an area where outbreaks of 2009-H1N1 have occurred. We have reports of passengers arriving from areas where outbreaks have occurred (including the U.S. and Mexico) being placed in precautionary quarantine simply because they registered slightly elevated temperatures, " said the State Department.
It's understandable that China is concerned about swine flu. The country's urban centers are densely populated and the sanitary conditions are not so high anywhere (good luck finding soap at a public place).
Unfortunately, it looks like a lot of travelers are going to have to spend a week of time in quarantine in Chinese hotels. That's not going to be a pleasant experience. But China is serious about this and I bet that these practices go on for some time, or at least as long as swine flu is anywhere to be found in the world.