There is currently understandable anxiety among parents about the health of their children with the well-reported global increase in the transmission of the H1N1 virus, commonly known as ‘swine flu.’ The situation has not been helped by some examples of sensationalist reporting in the media and it is important to retain a sense of perspective about the virus. At present, the virus is no more dangerous than a typical seasonal flu and the UK is well-prepared for such an outbreak. English Language Teaching (ELT) providers are operating as normal.
- Schools, colleges and universities that are accredited by the British Council scheme in the UK are among the best and most professionally-run (ELT) schools in the world, and it is obligatory for each centre to maintain impressively high standards of student welfare and care in order to fulfil the requirements of accreditation.
- If a student does fall ill, and cases are still quite rare, an accredited school will have well-rehearsed procedures and established medical contacts to ensure that the student receives the best and most appropriate treatment possible.
- On average nearly 30,000 people die from ‘normal’ flu illnesses a year in the UK, in comparison, to date and while tragic, there have been just 17 deaths attributed to ‘swine flu’ and most of the victims had existing underlying medical problems.
- The symptoms of ‘swine flu’ are currently very mild in the vast majority of cases and full recovery can be expected.
- The UK has a world-class modern health service which is well-prepared to deal with any outbreak of pandemic flu.
- The virus is responding well to treatment through ‘Tamiflu’ and other anti-viral drugs. There are extensive stocks of these drugs but not every flu sufferer will need to take these drugs.
- The World Health Organisation (WHO) recently declared that the spread of the virus is now ‘unstoppable’ globally so it is unlikely that any country in the world will remain unaffected from the virus. As it is impossible to avoid, the best advice is to try to go about your daily life as normal.
- Dr Alan Hay, director of the London-based World Influenza Centre stated, “The people who are being affected will have reasonable immunity against the virus if it reappears during the winter season.” Please note that this is not suggesting that students actively seek to catch the virus!
English UK will continue to provide update bulletins to members, agents and students through the website in order to help keep you fully informed about the virus. Please be reassured that the ELT industry is continuing to operate as normal and hundreds of thousands of students around the country are continuing to enjoy their educational experiences.
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