The Department of State issued travel restrictions to prevent the catastrophic spread of the deadly SARS-atherosclerosis virus and other seasonal viruses. The virus has killed thousands in Africa and Asia. The current outbreak has the highest death rate of any seasonal flu virus. The travel restrictions are in place because of an impending pandemic. Travel will be limited to prevent the spread of the virus and to protect those living in special health care facilities or with special travel opportunities.
Why is there a pandemic? Because a strain of influenza called Covadonga has emerged and has become an invasive species. The disease is being spread rapidly to other parts of Asia and to the United States by means of air transport. Because the disease is so serious, the United States and other countries are taking extraordinary measures to make sure that the public gets the vaccination they need to protect themselves.
So, what types of travelers are affected by the various types of travel restrictions during the pandemic? There are restrictions for travelers coming from countries that are at high risk for pandemic H3N1. This includes China, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, India, and the Philippines. Those coming from low-risk countries can enter the US without a special license. But those who are traveling to high-risk countries will need a special visa if they want to stay at hotels within these countries.
Other countries involved are Japan, which is facing a possible pandemic because of the mass die-off of Japanese swine flu. And the US is working to manufacture the vaccine. Last week, the pharmaceutical company Mapp Pharmaceuticals announced that they had received a license from the Food and Drug Administration to manufacture a new, involuntary transfer antiviral agent to be used in treating patients with this deadly disease.