News / Health

Polls: High Support for MERS Travel Screening

Temperatures of travelers are monitored by thermal scanner to fevers and other symptoms at train station in Beijing, file photo.
Temperatures of travelers are monitored by thermal scanner to fevers and other symptoms at train station in Beijing, file photo.
Reuters
Little is known about a SARS-like virus that has infected people in the Middle East, North Africa and Europe, but there is strong support around the globe for screening travelers to prevent the spread of the disease, according to a new poll.
 
An Ipsos online survey of more than 19,000 people in 24 countries showed that fewer than half of people questioned knew much about the disease known as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus, or MERS, which has infected 88 people and killed 45 people.
 
Although awareness is low, most people said they are concerned about how prepared their nations are and would alter travel plans to avoid countries where cases have been reported.
 
"The two important things about this research are that it (MERS) is not at a level yet where it is on a lot of people's radar screens," said John Wright, a senior vice president at the global polling company Ipsos.
 
"The world isn't panicking over this," he added in an interview, "but they want to know that officials are taking steps to deal with it."
 
More than 80 percent of people questioned in developed countries said inbound travelers from countries with cases of MERS should be screened for the illness. The number rose to 90 percent in less industrialized countries.
 
Support was highest in China, Indonesia and Saudi Arabia, where the illness has been reported, and Italy, which has also been affected, as well as in Australia, Canada and Argentina.
 
Awareness about how to prevent infection was also low in many countries.
 
Last week the World Health Organization (WHO) reported six new cases of MERS in United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, including five health workers and one person who had been in contact with an infected person.
 
The illness, which can cause fever, coughing and pneumonia, has also surfaced in Jordan, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Tunisia, Britain, France, and Germany.
 
Travel was also a big concern with the majority of people questioned in the poll saying they would cancel or delay travel to a country affected by the illness.
 
The WHO has said the illness has not reached the level of a pandemic and may just die out. So far it has not recommended restrictions on travel.
 
The global health organization said it is drawing up advice on travel in relation to coronavirus.
 
"Clearly travel is going to be affected the most as a priority for people to look into," said Wright.
 
Ipsos conducted the poll from June 4 to 18, questioning about 500 or 1,000 people in each country. A poll of 1,000 is accurate of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points and one of 500 to plus or minus 5.0.

You May Like

Disappointing Report on China's Economy Shakes Markets

In London and New York shares lost 3 percent, while Paris and Germany dropped around 2.4 percent More

DRC Tries Mega-Farms to Feed Population

Park at Boukanga Lonzo currently has 5,000 hectares under cultivation, crops stretching as far as eye can see, and is start of ambitious large-scale agriculture plan More

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Areas are spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, source of livelihood for fishermen and herders who have called the marshes home for generations More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs