March 20, 2008

Reasons to fear a planned flu pandemic (I do)

Toronto bird flu lockdown misreported 19 Mar 2008 A Toronto hospital
denied media reports Wednesday an elderly couple had been quarantined
amid fears they had returned from Asia with avian flu. CITY-TV
reported an elderly couple who had just returned from Bangladesh
were admitted to Toronto East General Hospital Tuesday night, and
workers were taking "extra steps to be safe including wearing masks
and gloves." Soon after, the hospital issued a statement saying it
"has no reason to speculate that any patients in the hospital have
avian flu."

TO hospital monitoring possible cases of avian flu --T.O. hospital
denies reports it's treating avian flu 19 Mar 2008 The Toronto East
General Hospital is denying reports it is treating patients who may
have been exposed to the avian flu. In a news statement released
Wednesday morning, hospital officials said it has seen an increase
in patients suffering from seasonal flu, not the avian flu.

Couple Isolated At Toronto Hospital Over Bird Flu Fears 19 Mar 2008
When an elderly couple who had just returned from Bangladesh showed
up at Toronto East General Hospital suffering from bad flu-like
symptoms, officials there took no chances. The patients were
immediately isolated, staff members wore gowns, gloves and masks
and no visitors were allowed in to the secure area. But on Wednesday,
the hospital took great pains to assure there was no reason to fear
the disease had made its way to Canada. [See also: Flu 'Oddities'.]

'Dads' Army' to protect against security threats --

Official: Force likely to be "a variation"
of the ARP [air raid precaution wardens] who patrolled Britain's
streets during the Blitz 19 Mar 008 Gordon Brown wants tens of
thousands of Britons to join a new Dads Army-style volunteer force
to help the Government tackle threats to national security. The new
force, called a new Civil Protection Network, will be based on the
local Neighbourhood Watch schemes. The Government also wants students
at schools and universities to play their part in protecting Britains
security by reporting any suspicious activity.

Brown unveils civil defence plan 19 Mar 2008 Members of the public
will be able to join a new form of civil defence network to protect
Britain 'against' natural disasters and terrorism. The organisations
- likened to a new breed of "air raid precautions" or "ARP" wardens
from the Second World War - will team up to build the country's
resilience in a catastrophe. As part of a new National Security
Strategy, Prime Minister Gordon Brown also revealed that the
Government will publish for the first time a list of the risks faced
by Britain... For example, it said the highest threat currently
faced is an influenza-type pandemic which the Government believes
could kill up to 750,000 people in the UK.

Flu pandemic is biggest threat to security, strategy says 19 Mar
2008 The biggest threat to Britain at the present time is a flu
pandemic. An outbreak could cause the deaths of up to 750,000 people,
according to the strategy.

Officials had carried a modelling exercise last Autumn, called
Operation Winter Willow, to gauge the effects of such a pandemic.
Officials were applying the lessons from the Government's approach
to terrorism, the strategy says.

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