Monday, July 27, 2009


The hyped-up media inspired hysteria over the swine-flu outbreak, causing people to panic (above) continues. A 12-year-old girl who is one of England’s first 3 cases of swine flu was on the same flight from Mexico as the Scottish newlyweds who have fallen ill with the virus. Prime Minister Gordon Brown told the House of Commons yesterday that the girl’s school in Torbay, Devon, had been closed and all 2,300 pupils offered anti-viral drugs (always assuming the Health Service HAS them, of course). England’s first cases of the virus emerged as it was revealed that a 2-year-old American child had become the first person outside Mexico to die from the virus. The first non-Mexican death has reportedly dramatically raised fears of a global pandemic and according to the media experts have warned that it is likely that many more people will now die from the virus. Interesting that in Western eyes a non-Mexican death raises the situation to a crisis. And the relief in the UK media when the poor kid that died turned out to be a 3rd world Mexican rather than an American or Brit was as palpable as it was disgraceful. But whilst any death is tragic, it has to be said that the UK media are blowing all this way out of proportion big time. The 24 hour news stations helped to talk the country into recession, speculating constantly about house price falls, unemployment and the credit crunch until these things became self-fulfilling prophecies – now these irresponsible media doom-mongers are trying to do the same thing with swine flu. It might be better for everyone concerned if they all shut up.


And the World Health Organisation (WHO) Director-General Margaret Chan (pictured above) last night raised its global epidemic threat level to phase 5 – the second highest – as a result of the increasing number of people being confirmed as infected with swine flu across the world. Phase 5 indicates that the disease is able to spread easily between humans. It can lead to governments bringing in measures to prevent its spread, including travel restrictions and trade limitations. Excuse me but isn’t that the situation we’ve had since the start of this thing ? The next phase, 6, is a full-blown pandemic, characterised by outbreaks in at least two regions of the world. Fine – the sooner we reach phase 6, the better – then perhaps all these WHO officials, who presumably are medically qualified, can stop holding expensive photo opportunities and panic-spreading press conferences stating the bloody obvious and instead get on with finding a cure. And as for the British government’s response, well typically they plan to “deliver a leaflet” to every household. They’d be better serving the country by delivering supplies of Tamiflu tablets.


And some authorities are reacting irrationally. In Egypt leaders have ordered the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of pigs to help protect against swine flu, prompting angry protests from the poor Christian farmers (pictured above) who feed their animals with the country’s food scraps. The decision was also criticised as a “real mistake” by a senior UN food expert, who stated that the pigs had nothing to do with the current pandemic. The Arab world’s most populous nation has been been badly hit by the H5N1 bird flu virus in recent years and the move to cull up to 400,000 pigs – seen by Muslims as unclean animals – is designed to calm fears of an impending pandemic. But the decision has caused Egypt’s large Coptic Christian minority to be up in arms, especially the slum-dwelling “Zebaleen” rubbish collectors who rely on the pigs for their livelihood. Scores of them blocked the streets and stoned the vehicles of Health Ministry workers as they arrived to carry out the government’s order at pig farms on the outskirts of Cairo yesterday afternoon. “Our pigs are healthy. They are our capital and they have no diseases,” said Adel Ishak, who feeds his pigs from the rubbish he collects in Manshiet Nasser, northeast of Cairo. Sorry, Adel – but I suspect the decision has nothing to do with health and everything to do with religious intolerance.