Nations And Airlines Brace Themselves Against Dual Threat
Aug 14, 2014
What are the authorities and travel companies doing to minimize the threats that now appear to be worrying the public?
The threat of terrorism that seemed omnipresent in the post 9-11 era introduced security measures at airports around the world, created an entire security agency in the US and discouraged people from flying for quite some time. Travel, however, has always been inherently attractive and viewed as a status symbol, so its dented popularity soon returned, but does it now face a pair of diverse threats that might do equal if not greater damage?
The outbreak of Ebola in western African (particularly Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone) is spreading at an alarming rate, with the director-general of the World Health Organization, Margret Chan, stating that “This outbreak is moving faster than our efforts to control it.” which is why numerous airlines have suspended flights to the region, and small scale panics have begun to occur at airports and medical centers around the world making online blackjack a lot more appealing that traveling to Macau.
Airlines And Governments Face Challenges
• Ebola virus spreading across West Africa
• Reduced travel may effect casino strategies for marketing
• Missile systems more prolific than ever
Dr Chan is not one to mince her words continuing “Chains of transmission have moved underground. They are invisible. They are not being reported, because of the high fatality rate, many people in affected areas associate isolation wards with a sure death sentence, and prefer to care for loved ones in homes or seek assistance from traditional healers, such hiding of cases defeats strategies for rapid containment. Moreover, public attitudes can create a security threat to response teams when fear and misunderstanding turn to anger, hostility, or violence.”
These are not reassuring words and with a gestation period of between 2 and 21 days perfectly well people can begin to display symptoms quite some time after having contracted the virus, people who have traveled from elsewhere. So frightening is this outbreak that the world bank is allocating $200 million in emergency assistance to nations attempting to contain the disease. But can it be contained and is it only in Africa where public response is less than logical?
The Center For Disease Control Steps Up
The panic, alas, is beginning to spread. A woman dies at Gatwick airport having traveled from the effected (perhaps infected) region and the tabloids scream in horror, US aid workers with the disease are transferred back to the US for treatment (under strict quarantine) and Donald Trump tweets “The U.S. Cannot allow EBOLA infected people back. People that go to far away places to help out are great – but must suffer the consequences.” Sentiments he probably considers one of a range of smart strategies to get him elected president.
The CDC, center for disease control, exists in various forms in nearly all major countries from China to the US, and all of them are working around the clock to ensure this outbreak isn’t spread around the world. They recommend that should a passenger on an aircraft display symptoms they should be immediately separated from the rest of the passengers (tricky in a full airliner) provided with a surgical mask to minimize droplet-in-air infection possibility and only be touched by impermeable gloves.
Airports around the world are readying themselves to have to quarantine people who appear to display symptoms. “We are in a position to ensure that public health is protected. If [U.S. Customs and Border Protection] officers do recognize an individual who appears to be exhibiting some of these symptoms, there are facilities at these ports of entry – at these airports – where these individuals can be quarantined and evaluated by medical personnel.” said the White House mirroring statements made by other governments.
Perhaps more telling as to the attitude of the traveling public the White House continued;”It’s also important for people to understand that this disease is not transmitted through the air, it’s not transmitted through the water, and it would not be transmitted through the food here in the United States. That’s why the [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] has assessed that there is no significant risk to the United States from this current Ebola outbreak.”
Airlines Reassess Routing Policies
These comments are designed to counter a popular perception of Ebola as a plague that spells doom for us all, and they may go some way towards doing so, but very little can counter the other threat that is currently damaging air travel. The world’s conflict zones very rarely in the past effected air travel. Acts of terrorism aboard aside, most incidents of air craft being downed by military technology were accidents of actual militaries. The shooting down of MH17 isn’t so neat.
Airlines that regularly fly over trouble spots around the world have had to make significant reassessments of their routing practices following this horrible tragedy, and the aviation authorities are likewise being far more circumspect about which regions of the world they deem unsafe for air travel. Aircraft that were once far too high for the shoulder launched surface-to-air missiles that were designed mostly for defense against rotary wing threats are now in the firing line.
There might not be a ready market on Ebay for second hand soviet designed surface-to-air missile systems, but there is a market for them none-the-less, and with less reliable people getting their hands on such advanced weaponry it is no surprise to know at least one lawmaker in the US is insisting civilian airliners are equipped with counter-measure systems to protect them from this increasingly dangerous threat.
Whilst Senator Mark Kirk might face an uphill struggle instances like MH17 do incline many to wonder why this is not already the case, as it is with Israeli airline El Al which has installed “Flight Guard” anti-missile systems on all its aircraft. It might be costly but if passengers begin to fear flying that could cost even more. In fact between Ebola and missile happy morons shooting at planes it’s a wonder anyone flies anywhere at all.
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