Coming to a School Near You: Swine Flu


This morning I was reading a column in the Sunday Herald by radio talkshow host Kerre Woodham saying that SwineFlu is a load of hogwash. Half an hour ago I was at the checkout at my local Foodtown and overheard a girl saying that she was told not to go to school next week at Westlake College (On Auckland’s North Shore) as there had been a confirmed case of SwineFlu at the school.  She said that initially only year 12 girls were told to stay away, but that she since been told that the whole school is to be closed for a week. The fact that she was working at a checkout at the supermarket suggests that as well as spreading the news, she could also of course be spreading the virus.

I have said all along that, the people who are saying that because bird flu turned out to be a non event, this one will too, are going to get a rude awakening. This thing is spreading quickly, with a rise of 65% in the last 24 hours to 71 confirmed cases, while many more are expected to be confirmed in coming days as the NZ Police College has closed for a week and 41 tourists in the South Island town of Hokitika have also been confirmed.

One question being asked is whether employers should pay their staff if the company closes its doors during a quarantine. The answer appears to be no, other than normal holiday pay conditions. If it turns out to be as serious as is suggested, this could be a major concern. The biggest concern though is people who are sick but go to work anyway, because they can’t financially afford to miss work.

Perhaps the answer is obvious, but what should you do if one of your family members with whom  you live is ill and could have Swine Flu?Does the whole family have to stay home, or do they only stay home if the person is confirmed to have the virus, which takes 72 hours after the swab.

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