Editor’s Note: To stem the tide of sensationalized mainstream reporting, the Mexico Tourism Board continues to release fact-based information concern the current situation in Mexico. To assist the travel and tourism industry in keeping travel professionals and consumers accurately informed, organizations which can help to convey the following information are encouraged to do so. The following alert and appeal arrived from Mexico’s office of tourism in New York today, May 1, 2009 (Editor Update May 5 – ATTA Member Journey Mexico also offers perspective to keep the fact straight – see below the MTB news release for more):
New York, NY; Friday May 1, 2009
Dear industry partners and friends,
In face of the situation that our country is currently in, our priority is to keep domestic and international visitors informed with the most accurate and timely information regarding the outbreak of H1N1 influenza. Media coverage regarding the evolution of this outbreak has caused a direct information gap for tourists. Is important that people arriving or departing the country be aware of all the information issued by the health, federal and local authorities.
The Mexico Tourism Board is continuously working with federal and local organizations on producing the most current, correct and transparent information we have and we kindly ask you to please monitor www.mexico-update.com for the most up to date official information. Attached you will find the press released that was sent to the media.
Mexico’s Minister of Health, José Ángel Córdova, has confirmed that the government currently has access to instant result testing and public health centers are able to detect the virus almost immediately. In addition, the Mexican Government has also taken aggressive preventive measures that are directly in line with those recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) for this level of crisis.
In spite of the health crisis resulting from the Swine Flu (H1N1 influenza) detected in Mexico as well as the travel alerts issued by the U.S. and other countries suggesting that their citizens refrain from non-essential travel to Mexico, it is important to note that the World Health Organization (WHO) does not contemplate the closing of borders or restrictions of trips. Health authorities are suggesting that tourists should follow the recommendations provided by the Ministry of Health and international health authorities, in order to prevent the infection and spread of the virus.
Please do not hesitate to contact our offices if you need assistance or more information on this issue.
Mexico Tourism Board’s New York Office
Clara Torres Marquez
Mexico Tourism Board
400 Madison Av. Suite 11C
New York, NY, 10017
212-308-21-10 ext 102
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
THE MEXICO TOURISM BOARD & THE MINISTRY OF TOURISM REPORT THAT NO TOURISTS CURRENTLY IN MEXICO HAVE BEEN INFECTED BY THE H1N1 INFLUENZA VIRUS
Mexico City, Mexico; April 29, 2009- In spite of the health crisis resulting from the Swine Flu (H1N1 influenza) detected in Mexico as well as the travel alerts issued by the U.S. and other countries, the World Health Organization (WHO) does not contemplate the closing of borders or restrictions of trips.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is recommending that people “avoid all nonessential travel to Mexico,” but at no moment have they enforced a ban on travel to our country. Health authorities are suggesting that tourists should follow the recommendations provided by the Ministry of Health and international health authorities, in order to prevent the infection and spread of the virus.
Mexico’s Minister of Health, José Ángel Córdova, confirmed that over the next few days, the government will have access to instant rapid result testing detecting the virus in public health centers, to those who have flu-like symptoms.
The Mexican Government has also taken aggressive preventive measures that are directly in line with those recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) for this level of crisis. Some of these actions are:
• Massive distribution of face masks in Mexico City by members of the military.
• Probability of public and metro transportation service suspension until the situation is under control
• Recommendation of not assisting to large, conglomerated, public events and to keep a distance of 6.5 feet when in company of someone
• Expedite the entrance of antiviral medication into the country which will be managed under controlled prescription
• Preparing the call centers with proper information to attend, orient and inform the public ( 1-800-44-Mexico)
The CDC in Atlanta said that there are two antiviral drugs to which the swine influenza is susceptible; these are now being used successfully in the treatment of people infected in the United States and Mexico.
When asked about the position of the tourism sector, the Secretary of Tourism, Rodolfo Elizondo, expressed that the industry is working with federal authorities to confront this health crisis in a coordinated manner. “We have launched a communication strategy in order to keep the industry and tourists in the country informed on preventive measures.”
In addition, Oscar Fitch, CEO of the Mexico Tourism Board (MTB), said that “all offices of the MTB abroad are ensuring that both business partners and tourists who plan to travel to Mexico have all required official information.”
It is essential to the Mexican government that all tourists have accurate and timely information on the current situation. People arriving or departing the country must be aware of all the information issued by the health authorities. It is important to know that medical teams have been deployed to conduct questionnaires to passengers about their health and any symptoms of influenza so they can be sent to receive medical attention.
About the Mexico Tourism Board
The Mexico Tourism Board (MTB) brings together the resources of federal and state governments, municipalities and private companies to promote Mexico’s tourism attractions and destinations internationally. Created in 1999, the MTB is Mexico’s tourism promotion agency, and its participants include members of both the private and public sectors. The MTB has offices throughout North America, Europe, Japan and Latin America. For more information on destinations and online trip bookings please go to www.visitmexico.com .
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Posted May 5, 2009 Updates from Journey Mexico:
Dearest colleagues and friends,
Please find our latest update on the constantly changing situation in Mexico related to the Flu Outbreak. We agree with the World Health Organization’s advice on no restriction of regular travel or closure of borders. It is considered prudent for people who are ill to delay international travel and for people developing symptoms following international travel to seek medical attention, in line with guidance from national authorities.
We will continue to update you as more information becomes available. If you or your clients are in country or scheduled to travel with Journey Mexico, we will continue to be in touch to update you as further information becomes available.
Please don’t hesitate to let me know should you have any questions or comments or would just like to speak in person. Thank you for your continued support and trust; Journey Mexico will continue to do everything in our power to exceed your expectations.
May 1, 2009
According to the World Health Organization: http://www.who.int/csr/don/2009_05_01a/en/index.html
The situation continues to evolve. As of 23:30 GMT, 1 May 2009, 13 countries have officially reported 365 cases of influenza A(H1N1) infection.
The United States Government has reported 141 laboratory confirmed human cases, including one death. Mexico has reported 156 confirmed human cases of infection, including nine deaths.
The following countries have reported laboratory confirmed cases with no deaths – Austria (1), Canada (34), China, Hong Kong, Special Administrative Region (1), Denmark (1), Germany (4), Israel (2), Netherlands (1), New Zealand (4), Spain (13), Switzerland (1) and the United Kingdom (8).
Further information on the situation will be available on the WHO website on a regular basis.
WHO advises no restriction of regular travel or closure of borders. It is considered prudent for people who are ill to delay international travel and for people developing symptoms following international travel to seek medical attention, in line with guidance from national authorities.
There is also no risk of infection from this virus from consumption of well-cooked pork and pork products. Individuals are advised to wash hands thoroughly with soap and water on a regular basis and should seek medical attention if they develop any symptoms of influenza-like illness.
Influenza A(H1N1) web site http://www.who.int/csr/disease/swineflu/en/index.html
Daily updates will be posted on this site.
According to The United States Center for Disease Control:
H1N1 Flu website last updated May 1, 2009, 11:00 AM ET
CDC continues to take aggressive action to respond to an expanding outbreak caused by H1N1 (swine flu). CDC’s response goals are to reduce transmission and illness severity, and provide information to help health care providers, public health officials and the public address the challenges posed by this emergency.
CDC continues to issue and update interim guidance daily in response to the rapidly evolving situation. Early this morning, CDC provided interim guidance on school closures. Supplies from CDC’s Division of the Strategic National Stockpile (SNS) are being sent to all 50 states and U.S. territories to help them respond to the outbreak. In addition, the Federal Government and manufacturers have begun the process of developing a vaccine against this new virus.
Response actions are aggressive, but they may vary across states and communities depending on local circumstances. Communities, businesses, places of worship, schools and individuals can all take action to slow the spread of this outbreak. People who are sick are urged to stay home from work or school and to avoid contact with others, except to seek medical care. This action can avoid spreading illness further.
Mexico’s Response Measures: Mexican authorities are taking the swine flu very seriously and have instituted swift and decisive measures to curb further spread of the illness. Nationally, Mexico has closed its schools and universities until May 6th. In urban centers, many restaurants, bars, clubs, movie theaters, pool halls, gyms, sport centers and convention halls have been ordered to close until May 5th. Approximately 170 archeological sites across Mexico have been ordered to remain closed to the public through May 6th. Troops passed out 4 million filter masks in the capital city of 20 million residents; these masks are primarily effective in preventing infection when worn by ill patients and not proven protection when worn by healthy individuals.
We recommend that we all monitor the news and development of the situation in order to better assess the real risk of travel to Mexico. Journey Mexico continues to make ourselves aware of local conditions and assess any imminent or potential risk to our staff, clients, and partners; we have a well developed risk management and contingency plans in case a situation is to arise or in the rare event that we decide to take preemptive action. Now more than ever, Journey Mexico’s value is paramount; in addition to our knowledgeable and speedy trip planners, seamless operational staff and charming and expert guides and drivers; our real time knowledge of conditions on the ground will contribute to ensure your safety, security, and peace of mind during your preparation and travel to Mexico.
Please don’t hesitate to contact me directly should you have any questions or comments or need further information.
Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco
Francisco Medina Asencio #2039
Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco
CP 48333 México
Tel : +52 (322) 225 9821
Fax: +52 (55) 1084-2946
toll free US & CA: 1-800-513-1587
Contributing members are responsible for the accuracy of content contributed to the Member News section of AdventureTravelNews.