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H1N1 Flu Virus: Government of Canada Provides Travel Guidance

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OTTAWA – The Government of Canada has provided important guidance on how to reduce the spread of the H1N1 flu virus on planes, trains, ferries and inter-city buses. 



"Canadians want to know how the H1N1 flu virus affects their regular travel " said Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq. These guidelines help clarify how passengers, crews, travel agencies and operators can help reduce the spread of infection on planes, trains, ferries and buses ."

The guidance document primarily targets travellers undertaking longer trips, particularly those traveling between cities, provinces or countries. Canadians who are feeling healthy are encouraged to continue their regular use of public transit.

"Everyone has a role to play in reducing the spread of the H1N1 flu virus," said Chief Public Health Officer, Dr. David Butler-Jones. "If you are sick you should postpone your travel plans until you feel well enough to participate fully in all regular activities."

Guideline recommendations include:

passengers and crew members staying home if they are sick;
travel companies, airlines, bus lines and others who operate public conveyances allowing Canadians to easily rebook their travel plans if they get sick;
operators posting preventive measure signs advising travellers to wash their hands frequently with soap and water or alcohol-based sanitizer, and to cough and sneeze into arms, and not their hands;
travel companies ensuring that facilities for hand washing are readily available for passengers;
regular cleaning of common surfaces in transportation vehicles according to cleaning and disinfection procedures developed by Health Canada; and
crew members avoiding using gloves, masks, facemasks, and eye protection in most situations.

The guidance document also provides advice on how to deal with sick passengers on board planes, trains, ferries and buses, and outlines the responsibilities of conveyance operators for notifying public health or other appropriate authorities about sick passengers (see backgrounder). The first priority is to arrange for immediate medical attention of a passenger, if required.

The guidance document has been distributed to all conveyance operators, and is available on the website of the Public Heath Agency of Canada.

28 oct. 2009


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