Australians Told To Take Flight if Bird Flu Travels

Australians living or traveling in Cambodia and other avian in­flu­enza-affected countries have been advised to evacuate quickly if sustained human-to-human transmission of the disease occurs.

“Australians who don’t leave af­fected countries when first ad­vised to do so may be prevented from leav­ing later,” stated a Thurs­day travel bulletin from Australia’s De­part­ment of For­eign Affairs Web site.

“Borders may be closed, commercial air services may be curtailed or halted and quarantine re­quirements may further restrict options for leaving,” it added.

The advisory also warns that overseas Australians should be pre­pared to take “personal re­sponsibility for their own safety and well-being” if bird flu be­comes contagious among people.

Further, the advisory states that Australian travelers, long-term residents and businesses are responsible for securing their own supply of antiviral medicine—which will only be provided to officials providing consular and emergency services—if a deadly pandemic is set in motion.

“The limited influenza antiviral medicine supplies held at [overseas] missions and offices is not intended and does not allow for provision to other Australians who may be in the affected area,” the bulletin states.

The grim warning comes at a time when the H5N1 flu strain—which has killed or led to the culling of tens of millions of birds in Southeast Asia and resulted in more than 60 human deaths, four of them Cambodians—has spread to Europe by migrating birds.


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