Herbert Ford, 559-592-0980, 559-732-0313.
PITCAIRN ISLAND, FEARFUL OF FLU, CLOSES ITS BORDERS, THEN OPENS THEM AGAIN
PITCAIRN ISLAND, SOUTH PACIFIC OCEAN, May 4, 2009—Tiny, isolated Pitcairn Island, which a few days ago sent out a world-wide invitation to visit its shores, on May 2 closed its borders due to the world-wide Swine flu scare. Some hours later, island officials downgraded the restriction to allow visitors who pass a local health check.
Whereas an emergency meeting of the local population on May 2, resulted in a barring of all incoming maritime traffic, subsequently island officials have decided that yachties will be allowed ashore if they pass a health check by the resident Pitcairn physician. Calling ships have only to produce a regular port health certificate upon arrival at the island.
On Pitcairn the consequences of an influenza outbreak is a very serious matter.
Because of its isolation from the rest of the world, Pitcairners who become ill with any form of influenza suffer a prolonged siege of the illness, and to a more dangerous degree than do most people from other parts of the world.
Based on the World Health Organization's raising of a world-wide alert on the illness to Level 5, the islanders on May 2, had voted to bar all incoming maritime traffic until the emergency is over. The only access to Pitcairn is from the sea.
Marcie and David Lynn of the yacht Nine of Cups, already visiting on Pitcairn at the time, reported an action taken at an emergency meeting of the local population that for a short time had closed the island's borders. The couple was told that once they left the island they could not return there until the flu emergency is over.
Whereas influenza may bed some people for up to eight or 10 days, it is not unusual for a Pitcairner ill with influenza to spend weeks in bed from the illness