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How is the “disappearance” of flu reflected in the tourism sector this year?


Each year from October to mid-May, Influenza (flu), moves about freely in the northern hemisphere, but this year, like all of us, it has stayed at home. This flu season has ended much earlier than usual, with record lows across Europe most likely due to Covid-19 prevention measures. 

Covid-19 prevention measures have also stopped the flu. "Social distancing, the use of masks and constant hand washing have been instrumental in stopping the flu", says Reuteurs Holger Rabenau, virologist at Frankfurt University Hospital. Whilst the flu vaccine is the best method of prevention, other hygiene measures, which have helped protect those most at risk from this virus variant, should also be taken into account. Covid-19 and flu are both respiratory viruses that are spread and circulated by way of aerosols. Therefore, if we protect ourselves from one, we also protect ourselves from the other. 

This decline in flu virus outbreaks has been worldwide. In Spain the flu rate has fallen by around 99%. According to data provided by the Spanish Influenza Surveillance System (SVGE), 7 cases were detected in January compared to 6,927 the previous year. In the UK, scientists at Public Health England (PHE) have confirmed that during the first week of January, out of 685,243 swab samples, not a single one tested positive for flu. 

Preventative measures are here to stay. In the tourism sector, prevention plans, protocols, Hygiene measures, Health and Safety measures etc., are already in place to prevent all types of viral outbreaks. Normally hotels are affected by viruses such as Norovirus, Legionella and Influenza (during the flu season). Whilst it is true that each virus is distinct, in general an outbreak can be prevented by following these basic measures: 

  • There should be an up-to-date POSI protocol 
  • There should be a thorough cleaning plan: regular cleaning, using good quality, effective products. 
  • Ventilation filters should be regularly cleaned
  • An infection surveillance system should be in place 
  • There should be ongoing staff training regarding all hygiene and health and safety issues 
  • Catering should be controlled and ways found to organise dining areas in order to reduce any risks
  • Identify, analyse and protect areas where there is more contact between guests and staff

At Preverisk we have always been committed to POSI protocols as a fundamental weapon in tourist establishments. The pandemic has suppressed the urgent need to review, or if necessary, establish protocols adapted to face all types of viral outbreaks, both for the present crisis and for the future. Our experts can help you to set up a prevention plan adapted to your tourist establishment, from its creation right through to its correct implementation. 

If you would like to find out more about preventing viruses from spreading in a hotel you can do so HERE.

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