The World Health Organization (WHO) has raised the H1N1 virus, commonly called swine flu, to the 5th level on a 6-level scale, after the virus has spread to more than a dozen countries, indicating that an influenza pandemic is imminent.
There has been no reported case of H1N1 flu in the Philippines, and is thus declared as an H1N1-free destination. The government is closely monitoring all incoming travelers in six international airports, seaports and other airports servicing chartered flights with thermal scanners to detect body temperatures. Special isolation areas have also been put up in these ports to quarantine travelers exhibiting flu symptoms, especially those coming from places with reported cases of H1N1 flu.
The government further required public and private hospitals to be on heightened alert and to monitor and report suspicious cases of H1N1 flu. Regional tourism offices have been instructed to stay vigilant and work in close coordination with concerned government agencies in monitoring H1N1 cases.
No cancellations on tour packages to the country were reported by the tourism industry. For information on the exotic, 7,107-island Philippine archipelago, visit www.experiencephilippines.ph or contact the Philippine Department of Tourism in Los Angeles at 213-487-4525, San Francisco at 415-956-4060; New York at 212-575-7915 or Chicago at 312-782-2475.