June 2, 2009 1:37 PM   Subscribe

Next thursday, I have a trip to China planned. Will the Chinese give us trouble out of swine flu fears?

I am currently moderately stuffed up, as is one of the people I am going with. We are currently waiting for our visas from the expediter (It's Easy). Will they detain us/not let us into China? Is it even worth the risk that they will not let us into china/do bad things to us(detain, not let us out, etc). We have gotten travel insurance, so if we do not go the full cost of the trip will be returned.
Should we cancel to avoid any future trouble?
posted by ooklala to Travel & Transportation around China (10 answers total)
If they're concerned about swine flu, it'd make more sense for them to deny you entry, not detain you or not let you out. Next Thursday is more than a week away. If you're still congested by then, take a decongestant. Or, better yet, get a doctor's letter of clearance if that would make you feel better. My understanding is as long as you aren't exhibiting flu-like symptoms (multiple symptoms, not solely congestion) you should be fine.
posted by cooker girl at 1:49 PM on June 2, 2009

James fallows has been chronicling a couple of these types of events. There are certainly stories of them quarantining you even after you have arrived and traveled a bit (worst case scenarios though, and hopefully it doesn't happen to you). Recently a highschool trip ended up being sequestered in their hotel after one random person on the plane was found to be sick (with not-swine-flu, it turns out). Someone else will have better advice for you--I don't travel much--but if I were you I would still go.
posted by gensubuser at 2:15 PM on June 2, 2009

I flew into japan just as swine flew was hitting japan, they kept us on the plane and shot us with these body temperature cameras. I don't think you'll have a problem if you're not running a fever and coughing a lot.
posted by mattsweaters at 2:38 PM on June 2, 2009

If you want to be really cautious, visit the doctor for a H1N1 test a few days before you leave and request the doctor write an official letter stating your test was negative. But as gensubuser mentioned, an ill passenger on your flight may lead to quarantine until the entire flight tests negative.
posted by dreaming in stereo at 3:28 PM on June 2, 2009

I took a boat out of Shanghai once, and their was some SARS concern at the time. All they did was check my temperature on the way onto the boat and on the way off and ask if we felt sick. Of course, that was a particular situation, and also not swine flu, so I, uh, I guess I have no idea. As long as you're not actively dying, you can probably fake it through, I'm guessing.

At the time I had a bit of a cough, and I hid it because I was worried they'd think I had SARS and would seal me in plastic wrap. Then I realized that, if this was an epidemic movie, I would actually have SARS. My character's name in the credits would be "Zero agent" and there would be all these scenes of me coughing in the bathroom with ominous music in the background about 15 minutes into the movie.
posted by Uppity Pigeon #2 at 7:39 PM on June 2, 2009

I got back from China yesterday. Upon arrival in Shanghai, Chinese technicians in jumpsuits and facemasks took the temperature of everyone on the plane with some kind of infrared-based thermometer. There also was a technician ready to take some kind of tissue culture immediately if anyone had had a temperature. I don't know the details, but my understanding from reading English-language Chinese newspapers while over there was that the government's intention is to quarantine anyone whose results from the culture looked suspicious, along with anyone sitting in seats near them on the plane (before deplaning, you have to fill out a form indicating contact info, what cities you'll be staying in, and what seat you sat in on the plane). I don't know much, and don't like scaring people, but my understanding of their procedures is that your concern over detainment is justified.
posted by gsteff at 10:56 PM on June 2, 2009

You will be fine. The plane will be met by a team of 6 people in what looks like white full chemical hazard suits - hooded with the double respirator. They will come on the plane. Don’t let this freak you. You will then have to walk past a infrared device that will spot if you have a fever. If you think you are going to have a slight temperature then have a ibuprofen about 30 mins before landing. (Please note I am not your doctor.)The guy who you usually hand your health form to will actually read it and check that the details are the same as your passport. Expect the new precautions to add at least and hour to getting through the airport. Don’t join any queue with anyone who looks either sick or looks at all Mexican as this queue will be super slow.
posted by priorpark17 at 11:15 AM on June 3, 2009

To add to the complexity of this, the school of a child that is coming has contacted swineflu. About half her grade is out sick with it.
posted by ooklala at 9:06 AM on June 6, 2009

Given that the mayor of New Orleans is still quarantined despite not showing symptoms (someone on his flight had flu-like symptoms), it's not unfathomable that you'd have problems.
posted by oaf at 6:57 AM on June 8, 2009

Problem solved,
the child that was coming on the trip has swine flu, and is recovering quite satisfactorily.
Because of this, we were unable to go.
The money has been refunded.
posted by ooklala at 3:23 PM on June 13, 2009

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