Saturday, January 20, 2007

January 20 - Day at Sea

Late this evening the captain announced 14 people had come to the infirmary with symptoms of the flu. Moreover, the majority of them had all arrived in New Zealand on Qantas flight 26 from Los Angeles on the 19th--our flight! Apparently, someone had vomited mid-flight and had contaminated the passenger compartment of the plane. “We want to minimize the spread of the flu on-board,” said the captain, and so he ordered a number of special provisions, among them: all passengers are to wash their hands regularly, indeed, as he put it in one of his public addresses, “maniacally.”

Those who were on Flight 26 are requested to quarantine themselves for 48 hours from the time they deplaned to ensure, to the best of our ability, that we do not spread the disease to other passengers. Since we are eating dinner (in public) when the announcement is made, we decide to finish what we are eating and comply with his request simply to go to our cabin and stay there until the next morning.

“If you who have been exposed to the virus will cooperate with these measures,” the captain says, “we should be able to avoid a full-blown epidemic. If not, then we can expect, within a couple of days, to have several hundred people on-board the ship to be suffering needlessly from it. . . .”

We'll see.
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