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Ebola scare curtails cruise as zombie rumours circulate

October 20, 2014 Cruise, Headline News No Comments Email Email

egtmedia59Ebola fears have crystallised in the US. A large American cruise ship has been turned back from an international port after an Ebola scare; a photo of a woman in a home-made anti-Ebola suit at an airport is trending on social media, and wild rumours are circulating on the net that dead Ebola victims are rising from their graves and returning as zombies.

The contagion hysteria, which has obvious implications for the travel industry, has intensified with the approach of Halloween. An anti-Ebola Hazmat moon-suit has become the ‘in’ scary Halloween costume this year, the New York Post reports. (Halloween, or All Hallows’ Eve, falls on 31 October 2014.)

Home-made Hazmat

Elements of the Ebola fixation include:

  • The big US cruise ship Carnival Magic has been refused permission to dock in the Mexican resort of Cozumel following an Ebola alert. A nurse aboard was isolated with her husband in their cabin amid fears that she might  have come into contact with Ebola. The nurse handled samples from a man who died of Ebola in Texas. She had no symptoms but isolated herself just in case. She was due to fly off the ship in Belize but authorities there refused to let her leave, though other passengers were allowed to disembark. The ship returned to port in Galveston yesterday. Carnival reportedly offered each passenger USD 200 in ship account credit in compensation and a discount on their next cruise.
  • American travel agents say clients are asking whether it’s safe to fly, and what steps they should take to guard against Ebola, USA Today reports. The report cited an incident in which a Florida doctor who had booked a USD 197,000 family safari trip to South Africa for 30 people next year decided to cancel and rebook it for 2016, “even if it means losing a USD 60,000 deposit”.
  • The picture of a woman wearing a home-made Hazmat suit at an airport, shown above, has gone viral (so to speak) after being posted on the US news and opinion website The Dally Caller. The photo, reportedly taken by another traveller at Dulles International Airport, Washington DC last week, shows a passenger wearing a full body gown, mask and gloves while reading a document. It may be a weird stunt, a sick joke or an example of Ebola paranoia.
  • A much more grisly image, purporting to show a Liberian Ebola victim “risen from the dead” as a zombie has also gone viral online. An accompanying text says: “For the first time in human history, confirmed footage of a man who scientists watched die from Ebola then only several hours later, regain life and rise from the dead.” Evoking fears of a zombie apocalypse, the text then cites Bible passage Isaiah 26:19-20: “Your dead shall live, their bodies shall rise.”

The whole thing is a hoax (needless to say) and the “confirmed footage” is a doctored image from the disaster movie World War Z, starring Brad Pitt. Hoax-debunking site points out: “No corroborating report of Ebola resurrections have surfaced since the initial story was published in Liberia…”

Instructions to hospital patients from the  New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene

Panic over the possible spread of Ebola in the US started after news (genuine) that two nurses who cared for the first man to die of Ebola in the US had themselves contracted the deadly virus, which has killed more than 4500 people, mostly in West Africa. One of the nurses took a Frontier Airlines domestic flight a day before being diagnosed with Ebola.

Health authorities insist that the chance of infection is minimal. President Barack Obama at the weekend urged Americans not to fall victim to hysteria about Ebola.

Written by Peter Needham

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