Wednesday, Sept 2, 2009
The answer is a resolute ‘no.’
Instead, the Obama administration hopes to combat infection aboard U.S. flights by encouraging hand-washing in the air. Dealing with sick passengers will be left to individual airlines, U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said in an interview with NBC’s “Today” show.
“They have that question with other people who show up and look like they’re sick and had it even before the swine flu was spoken about,” Napolitano said.
“What we’ve been meeting with the airlines about is making sure that hand-washing is easily accessible and that those kinds of things are available on planes for travelers.”
H1N1 infection is expected to balloon in the Northern Hemisphere as cooler weather sets in this autumn, raising the danger of major disruptions for businesses and governments as large numbers of workers call in sick.
That alone could pose national security problems, given that the U.S. government won’t have vaccines available until after infection begins to take hold.