- By all means, let's be "transparent" in warning
and informing the public about the bird flu outbreak, we wouldn't want
tourism to fall off.
- What happens when the tourists "die off?"
....and bring the flu back to their countries thus causing a die off of
- By the way, we still don't have the complete numbers
of zoo visitors who were infected. Over the next week there may be more
cases. There will also be asymptomatic cases. Each zoo case does pose
a risk to close contacts which will bring the numbers up higer should "cluster
- Patricia Doyle
- From ProMED-mail
- By Urip Hudiono
The Jakarta Post
- Tourism industry players have called on the government
to be more transparent in informing the public about the bird flu outbreak
to avoid confusion that could be harmful to the industry.
- Although the country's tourism sector is yet to experience
a significant impact from the outbreak, Indonesian Hotel and Restaurants
Association (PHRI) chairwoman Yanti Sukamdani Hardjoparkoso said the industry
could face another downturn as it did in 2003 -- when Severe Acute Respiratory
Syndrome (SARS) swept across Asia, including Indonesia -- if the government
failed to seriously handle the situation.
- "Look at what happened to Ragunan Zoo," Yanti
told The Jakarta Post on Friday. "People may never want to visit the
zoo again after the government was so wishy-washy about whether the place
was safe from bird flu or not."
- The government closed down the zoo in South Jakarta for
21 days starting 19 Sep 2005 after they found 19 birds in the 140 hectare
zoo had been infected with bird flu. (19 out of 27 tested. -ed)
- 4 people with bird flu have died since July and 2 children
died this week after showing symptoms of the virus. Yanti said the government
needed to assess the situation and take preventive measures -- including
specifying tourist destinations that should be avoided for the meantime
-- rather than waiting for a tourist to fall ill, which would only do the
tourism industry more harm. "Tourists are actually more afraid of
-- and more likely to be traumatized -- by the outbreak of a disease than
a terror attack; it is always more difficult and costly to restore the
good image of a tourist destination afterward, than (to take measures)
before it is tarnished," she said.
- Similarly, the Association of Indonesian Tour and Travel
Agencies (ASITA) chairwoman Meity Robot said the government needed to step
up its efforts in preventing and tackling the bird flu outbreak, before
it worsened and really turned into another nightmare for the tourism sector.
"The government must, most importantly, provide clearer and more complete
information on the situation to the public and be resolute in taking preventive
measures against the outbreak," she said.
- The government has been hoping to attract 6 million foreign
tourists this year, which would generate USD 5.8 billion in foreign exchange
from the industry -- higher than last year's 5.3 million tourists and USD
5 billion in revenues. The number of foreign arrivals during the year's
1st 7 months was 2.45 million, according to the Central Statistics Agency,
down 4.08 per cent from the same period in 2004.
- Minister of Culture and Tourism Jero Wacik told Dow Jones
Newswire that the bird flu outbreak would bring little effect to the tourism
sector. He was still upbeat that the country's tourism sector would meet
- Indonesia's tourism sector has been in the doldrums since
the Bali bombings in 2002, and terror attacks on the JW Marriott Hotel
and the Australian Embassy, both in South Jakarta, the following years,
scared off potential tourists. At the same time, a series of SARS and influenza
epidemics in the region, as well as the 26 Dec 2005 tsunami, made things
worse for the sector. The occupancy rates of hotels in the country dropped
from an average of 55 percent to 30 percent during the SARS outbreak, PHRI
- Despite the government's earlier warning that the outbreak
could turn into an epidemic, several foreign embassies are yet to issue
travel advisories to their citizens concerning the bird flu. The Japanese
Embassy has notified Japanese citizens of the bird flu outbreak, but it
has not issued an advisory suggesting they defer travel to the country.
"There are no plans to issue a travel warning yet," an embassy
official said. Elizabeth O'Neill of the Australian Embassy said her government
had asked --- in its latest travel bulletin -- Australians residing in
avian-influenza-affected areas not to panic and to take precautionary measures.
"We will continue to keep close contact with the Indonesian government
and the World Health Organization, and update Australian citizens about
the situation," she said. There are more Japanese and Australian tourists
here than visitors of any other nationality.
- Java Begins Culling Of Pigs Infected With
- By Mark Forbes
Sydney Morning Herald
- The lure of free entertainment on a sunny Sunday afternoon
drew hundreds to a field near the Javanese village of Babat to witness
the 1st mass cull of pigs infected with the deadly bird flu virus.
- Adults and children milled around, watching animals being
slaughtered, thrown into a pit and burnt with no sign of public safety
precautions. The Indonesian Agriculture Minister, Anton Apriantono, shouted
frantically to department staff to find if it was safe to remove his white
mask to answer questions. "Don't blame me if you get bird flu because
you don't wear a mask. This is very dangerous, you know, as the virus can
be transmitted through the air," he warned reporters that July afternoon.
- Mr Apriantono was soon struggling to explain why only
31 pigs and 40 ducks from Tangerang region, bordering Jakarta, were being
culled, instead of the promised hundreds of infected pigs and thousands
of chickens. "We only culled the infected animals as we do not have
the money to carry out a mass culling," he said.
- Days earlier, an auditor who lived nearby, Iwan Rapei,
and his 2 daughters died with symptoms of heavy pneumonia. Tests confirmed
Mr Rapei carried the bird flu virus.
- Yesterday the United Nations Food and Agriculture Agency
demanded Indonesia improve its virus control and immediately start culling
in infected areas.
- In April tests at pig farms uncovered bird flu infections,
but no cull was ordered. This week it emerged several of the 17 Indonesians
in hospital with bird flu in the latest outbreak came from Tangerang or
areas close to Jakarta.
- The botched cull raises concerns about Indonesia's ability
to prevent a pandemic that could kill millions across the region.
- The World Health Organisation's regional spokesman, Peter
Cordingley, believes Indonesia is now the "hot spot" for bird
flu, and the WHO's country representative, Georg Peterson, describes it
as the "weak link" in global efforts to avert a pandemic.
- Mr Cordingley said the WHO has known "for some time
the H5N1 virus is entrenched in Indonesian poultry populations". "Each
time a human being becomes infected, we worry because one of the scenarios
for this pandemic to start is if one person has the avian influenza virus
in his body at the same time as the normal flu virus, [then] there is the
possibility of genetic exchange between the 2 viruses."
- Although tests had shown more than half its exotic birds
carried the bird flu virus, Jakarta's Ragunan Zoo was kept open on Sunday
for thousands of visitors, including hundreds of expatriates on a charity
fun run. Several of those since taken to hospital were zoo visitors.
- The health minister, Siti Fadilah Supari, at first denied
the possibility of human transmission, then stated it was inevitable and
Indonesia was in the grip of an epidemic. She later reversed her position,
saying the outbreak could possibly become an epidemic and called on the
nation to increase "alertness" .
- But Mrs Supari's extraordinary flu alert was attacked
by other cabinet ministers on the grounds it could harm tourism and investment.
- This week Mr Apriantono finally announced culls in "highly
infected" areas. But he later said more than 20 per cent of stock
had to be infected for a cull order to be issued - and that no such areas
- Mr Cordingley said the problem was a familiar one in
Asia. "There is no incentive for somebody who raises chickens to report
infected chickens if he is not going to be compensated for the day government
authorities come in and kill all his chickens," he said.
- ProMED-mail email@example.com
- Indonesia's last update report (No 10) on H5N1 was sent
to the OIE on 2 Aug 2005; see http://www.oie.int/eng/info/hebdo/aIS_59.htm#Sec2.
- Patricia A. Doyle, PhD Please visit my "Emerging
Diseases" message board at:
- Zhan le Devlesa tai sastimasa Go with God and in Good