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Facing swine flu scrutiny

James Reynolds | 07:37 UK time, Friday, 29 May 2009

China is taking the H1N1 threat pretty seriously. Arriving at Beijing's airport right now is a bit like turning up at a laboratory.

I've just come back to Beijing following a few days in the UK. As our flight came in to land, the cabin crew handed out H1N1 health forms issued by China. These forms asked us to list our seat number and our contact numbers in Beijing. We also had to answer the question: "Have you had close contact with pigs within the past week?"
Guard at Beijing Capital International airport

When we landed, we were told to stay in our seats. A team of Chinese health inspectors wearing masks then boarded the plane. The inspectors proceeded slowly down each row, pointing what I can only describe as a temperature gun at each passenger's forehead (we made their jobs easier by politely tilting our foreheads to the inspectors as they went by).

A few minutes later, the inspectors escorted one passenger in an orange t-shirt off the plane. He looked pretty embarrassed.

Inside the airport terminal, we passed through a further two checkpoints staffed by guards checking for anyone with a fever.

Leaflets warned us: "It is the responsibility of every citizen to self-monitor at home for seven days after coming back from abroad."

In case that man with the orange t-shirt is diagnosed with H1N1, the Health Ministry has enough information to track us all down and put us all into quarantine for a week.


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