free Tamiflu for all visitors to Indonesia?

You have to hand it to the Indonesians for their chutzpah, in launching the new Visit Indonesia 2008 tourism campaign, at the same time as we hear about at least five Indonesians apparently infected with the deadly bird flu virus.
The campaign slogan, inaugurated by Indonesian Tourism Minister Jero Wacik last week, is also plastered on Indonesia’s flag carrier Garuda planes, Website and on its promotional TV ads, with a tag line: “Celebrating 100 years of a nation’s awakening”.
Some have suggested that the new slogan should be “free Tamiflu for all visitors to Indonesia” instead!
The country is embarking on the campaign to revive its flagging tourism industry which recorded a drop of about four million foreign tourist arrivals, in 2006.
Some of the reasons for the drop in tourism are:
Indonesia’s has not been in the good books of its Gods and the country has had to go through multiple disasters one after the other.
There was the devastating 2004 year-end tsunami, followed by severe flooding and there have been several volcanic eruptions since then.
Also, due to numerous air crashes, some involves its national carrier Garuda, air travel, which is a necessity for residents of the country’s far-flung islands, saftey has also become an issue.
To top it all, the European Union has banned Indonesian air carriers flying over the EU airspace!.
Then there have been a series of bombings by Islamic-based extremist group which operates under the Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) organization in the Southeast Asian region has kept tourists further at bay.

A Jakarta court has just opened the trial of Abu Dujana, who is being charged with plotting terrorist activities, including in possession of explosives.

He is being blamed for the 2002 Bali bombings, which resulted in the death of 202 people, mostly Australian tourists.

However, the most worrying problem for the potential visitors to Indonesia is of course the Bird Flu virus, which has killed more people in Indonesia to date, than any where else in the world.

Siti Supari, the controversial Indonesian Health Minister has not made things easy for her country, by taking on the WHO and other global agencies by refusing to let the world scientific community have the tssue samples, from the Indonesian victims of theBird Flu virus.

The government’s apparent poor handling of the on-going bird flu health scare which undoubtedly will be on the mind of tourists visiting the country.

May be they should offer free Tamiflu to all tourists to Indonesia, just in case.



Apologies to Professor Kilian for the UN Bird-Flu story.

Apologies to Crof the Prof for the UN Bird-Flu story. 

I apologize to Professor Kilian, if my comments in my last post, “Political Correctness from the UN Bird-Flu Boss?” were in any way taken as suggesting the “bombing of Indonesia”.

I have spent may years in Indonesia and around that region and love all of it.

Well, almost all of it.

There have been some very radical changes recently, that have brought a certain amount of nastiness in that country and in part of that region in my opinion.

But I digress!

The situation in Indonesia is a lot more complex than it appears on the surface.

The current “Bird-Flu policy” is not the result of a strong united Government.

As an example, during the infamous haggling with the WHO for the tissue samples of the victims of Bird-Flu, Siti Fadilah Supari, the Health Minister was fiercely opposed by a number of the other Ministers.

The Bali outbreak finally gave the chance of the opponents of the Health Minister (who were increasingly concerned about the image of the country around the world) to be able to over rule her mad policy.

The secrecy that prevails all things related to the Bird-Flu virus at this time, has resulted in a similar war of opinions raging in the highest echelons of power in that country.

The world can help those in the Government with better judgement, to prevail over the current H5N1 policy makers in Indonesia.

Very strong action must be taken without delay by the global community, against the apparent current policy of hiding of the facts related to the H5N1 virus in Indonesia.

No developmental aid, medical aid, or any other aid of any kind, should be made available to Indonesia, until the Government opens up completely as far as the H5N1 is concerned.

That kind of firm action from the rest of the world would be a great help to those in the Government who understand that H5N1 can not be contained or eliminated by any one country and want to share all their data related to the killer virus with the world.

Surely it is not a lot to ask of the virus inflicted country, to be simply honest about what is really going on in that country, as far as the H5N1 is concerned?

I would like to respectfully request that Dr Nabarro stops pussy footing around with false praise and other “diplomatic” gestures and gets down to the serious business of finding out the true facts about this killer dangerous virus in that country.

In the far east, FACE is the most important factor and basically the current Indonesian policy is all about face.

Some in the Government do not want the country to be seen as the sick nation of the region.

Then there are some factions, who really believe that the H5N1 is nothing but a conspiracy by the West, aimed at vaccinating the Muslim women in Indonesia in to infertility!

Not that Indonesia is the only problem as far as the hidden dangers of the Bird-Flu is concerned.

I believe that Vietnam currently has more cases of the human infection of H5N1 than Indonesia does.

It is just that in Vietnam, they can suppress the news better than they can in Indonesia!

Besides, as we all know, Vietnam has been “Bird-Flu-Free” more times than any other nation on this planet!

Not sure if Vietnam is Bird-flu-Free this week or if there has been another outbreak of the Bird-Flu some where in the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.

Then there is China, the original source of most viruses in the world, including of course, the H5N1 virus.

We can expect many more viruses originating from and mutating in China, as the millions of starving and omnivorous people in the rural areas of that country, kill and devour all of their exotic wild life.

Of course the non exotic Dogs and Cats do not escape with their lives in China either!

Eating a Dog in China

Apparently, boiling the dog alive, is the best way to get the skin off easily.

In fact the St. Bernard breed is the best loved dog meat in China.

But that is another story. 


Bird-Flu threat to Moon Festival celebrations.

The Chinese Moon Festival, (also known as the Mid-autumn Festival) which is normally celebrated on the 15th of the 8th lunar month, is is one of the most important traditional events for the Chinese.

It is as important for the Chinese, as Christmas and Thanksgiving is for the people in the West

The Moon festival is famous for, among other things, its “Moon Cakes”.


Traditionally, Lovers are supposed to spend the romantic night of the Moon Festival together, tasting the delicious moon cake with some wine, while watching the full moon.

Even for two lovers who can not be together at that time, they can still enjoy the night by watching the full moon at the same time, so that they are emotionally together at that hour.

A lot of Chinese poetry has been devoted to this romantic festival which is said to bring happiness.

This year however, there could be a problem with the bringing of happiness via the Moon Cakes.

This culprit is the Bird-Flu virus, which is a real pain in the  er.. neck.

Bird flu

Not only is the Bird-Flu killing millions of birds and an increasing (though still limited) number of humans, but also, it is now causing all kind of life style problems for us all.

The Chinese Government has told its people not to take moon cakes containing egg yolk or meat abroad, because of the threat of bird flu and other such diseases.

The Foreign Ministry reminded people heading to Australia for the September 25 Mid-Autumn Festival of strict quarantine laws, which prohibit the import of a wide range of food for fear of diseases such as bird flu, Newcastle disease and foot and mouth.

The strict Ausi quarantine laws carry fines of up to $49 000 and 10 years’ jail for failure to declare banned foods.

Other countries could well have similar penalties for unauthorised import of egg based products such as Moon Cakes.


India wants its women to be Aware of Bird-Flu.

India had one of the first women Prime Ministers in the world.

In India’s ancient history of more than 10,000 years, women have been known to be in powerful and vitally important positions in society.

Yet it is a fact that most of the women in India today, are not educated and are not able to fully develop their potential.

The Government of India and specifically the State Government of Manipur, has now decided that it is important to make the women of rural India  aware of the dangers that are present in the matter of the deadly Bird-Flu virus.   

Underlying the importance of women in Manipuri society in taking up various social issues, All Manipur Nupi Marup organised a State Level Awareness programme on Bird flu for womenfolk at State Museum Hall, Imphal today.

Health and Family Welfare Minister P Parijat attended the inaugural function of the awareness programme as chief guest and president of Nupi Marup I Ibeni as functional president.

Additional Director of Health Th Biren Singh was the resource person of the awareness programme attended by around 150 women coming from different parts of the State.

 Manipur Chief Minister Okram Ibobi


Office of Registrar General of India.

Third Bird-Flu Death in Bali, as Tourist Arrive in Record Numbers!

The Third Balinese Victim of the deadly Bird-Flu virus.

So soon after the death of the 29-year-old Ni Luh Putu Sri Windani and her Her five-year-old daughter Dian, Bali has yet another human victim of the Bird-Flu virus.

A 28-year-old woman died of suspected bird flu today after undergoing treatment for 36 hours at the Sanglah Hospital in Denpasar, Bali.Gan 1.000 nguoi tham gia dien tap phong chong cum
The victim, from Desa Braban, Kabupaten Tabanan here, died at an isolation ward.

Sanglah Hospital Bird Flu Eradication Chief Dr Putu Andrika said the victim was one of two patients who were treated for suspected H5N1 viral infection.

The condition of another patient, who is 58 years old, is improving but the patient is still under intensive care, he told Antara news agency.

With the latest casualty, bird flu is said to have claimed three lives in the tourist island after the death of a 29-year-old woman and her five-year-old child last Sunday.

Dr Putu however said he was still awaiting a laboratory test to confirm whether the death of the mother and her child last Sunday was due to H5N1 viral infection.

This statement from Dr Putu reported by Bernama, is a bit confusing, as all of the reports at the time had suggested that Dian, the five year old girl had been cremated soon after her death! If that is the case then were some tissue samples were taken before the said cremation?

I wish the Indonesian Government would stop trying  to act like the old Soviet regime, as far as the H5N1 infections in the country are concerned!

Tourists arrive in record numbers in Bali, as the number of human Bird-Flu infections increase!

Nothing about this Bird-Flu virus seems to be clear and simple.

Even as we hear about a further death from the H5N1 virus along with another person infected with the virus under intensive care,  in in Bali, the number of tourists arriving in the Resort Island has reached record numbers.

Preliminary foreign tourist arrival figures for July 2007 record 164,618 visitors to Bali, according to

The new figures represent a whopping double-digit increase of 34.9 percent ahead of the same month in 2006 and allowing July 2007 to qualify as the “best July on record” for Bali tourism.

According to Bali Discovery, January to July’s 2007 arrivals are nearing the 1 million mark, totaling 910,567, an improvement of 35 percent as compared to the same period in 2006 (674,561).

I guess they are right, when they say that the Gods always smile on this magical island!


A new Bird-Flu victim in Bird-Flu-Free Vietnam?

A man from Bac Lieu province has been hospitalized with symptoms of bird flu after cooking and eating a duck which had died allegedly of bird flu.  

What Are Symptoms Of Bird FluThe 40-year-old man, who is now in the Tropical Disease Hospital in Ho Chi Minh City, has been suffering from severe respiratory problems in the last few days.

He works for a farmer named Tran Van Thong who raises 350 ducklings, some of which died recently.

The province’s animal health authorities said three flocks of ducks in Bac Lieu’s Hong Dan district had died in the last few days with bird flu symptoms.They had been raised in the neighboring Soc Trang province. The man and the dead ducks are being tested for the H5N1 strain of bird flu.

This is at a time when the authourities in Vietnam are trying to declare as many of the provinces of Vietnam Bird-Flu-Free as they can!

Four provinces in Vietnam (Outbreaks hit poultry in 16 provinces) have reported no new outbreaks for over three weeks and are thus considered free of the disease.

It is suggested by some that the panic to declare the country “Partially” Bird-Flu-Free is due to the commercial pressures from the Tuorism and the Poultry Export Iindustries.

In fact, the Head of the Vietnam’s Veterinary Department, of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD), Bui Quang Anh, has warned of the possibility of bird flu reoccurring in H5N1 virus-free localities.

At the conference of the National Steering Committee for Bird Flu Prevention and Control on June 26, Anh said the spread of the disease is in a tenuous situation in some localities such as Hai Phong city, and Bac Giang and Thai Binh northern provinces.

“The very concept of any country (let alone a country right in the middle of the most effected Bird-Flu region in the world) declaring itself free from any infection of the H5N1 virus is ludecrous” say the critics of this policy.

“How can the athourities know that there is NO infection in the wild population of the birds and even mammels such as cats, pigs, dogs and more?” they ask.

Here are the source news links for the above post: 


“Another Egyptian Bird-Flu Victim in very-critical-condition” WHO.

A report today, Friday, from Reuters says that according to a World Health Organisation official,  a 10-year-old girl from southern Egypt has been infected with the deadly H5N1 bird flu virus, and is in “very critical” condition.

“There is a new human case just reported by the Ministry of Health. She is a 10-year-old female. She has a history of contact with backyard birds,” said John Jabbour, an official with the World Health Organisation in Cairo.

The fresh infection brought the number of human cases of avian influenza in Egypt to 35, of which 14 have died. Egypt’s state news agency MENA reported that the girl, from the southern town of Qena, was in hospital on a respirator.