The U.S. State Department plans to issue a travel warning later on Monday urging Americans to avoid all "nonessential" travel to Mexico because of an outbreak of swine flu, a U.S. official said.
Swine flu has killed 103 people in Mexico and has spread to the United States. Spain has reported one case of the virus, the first to be confirmed in Europe.
"There will be a travel warning urging Americans to avoid all nonessential travel to Mexico because of the swine flu," said a U.S. official, who spoke on condition he not be named as the warning has not yet been announced.
About an hour ago, Obama just said there's no cause for alarm.
I think it's rather alarming for the government to issue a warning to "avoid all 'nonessential' travel to Mexico because of an outbreak of swine flu."
From the New York Times:
“We are closely monitoring the emerging cases of swine flu in the United States,” Mr. Obama said, speaking at the National Academy of Sciences. “This is obviously the cause for concern and requires a heightened state of alert, but it’s not a cause for alarm.”
Issuing a warning to avoid nonessential travel to Mexico is a measure that speaks to a reaction greater than "concern."
I don't understand why the Obama administration is dragging its feet on this.
It's not being responsible. It's being slow to react. Issue the warning now.
Look at this, from earlier this morning:
US calls EU travel warning unwarranted
The top US disease control official rejected as unwarranted Monday an EU warning that appeared to call on Europeans to avoid travel to the United States and Mexico due to the swine flu outbreak.
"At this point, I would not put out a travel restriction or recommendation against coming to the United States," said Richard Besser, acting head of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Besser was responding to a statement earlier Monday by EU Health Commissioner Androulla Vassiliou recommending that Europeans avoid unnecessary travel to areas hit by the swine flu outbreak.
"Personally, I would try to avoid non-essential travel to the areas which are reported to be in the center of the cluster," she said.
Vassiliou did not specifically mention the United States, but the swine flu outbreak has been centered in Mexico and has caused 20 confirmed cases across the border in the United States, the second hardest-hit country so far.
She said the precaution was necessary "in order to minimize the personal risk and to reduce of the potential risk to spread the infection to other people," she added.
But Besser disagreed, saying "I don't think that's warranted."
American officials seem to care more about politics than the public's health.