Warning of global challenges restricting freedom to travel

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THE head of public health in the Lothians has warned that global challenges may force a change in the way residents move around the world with ease.

Dr Alison McCallum said there was significant recent evidence, including disease outbreak and environmental factors like the volcanic ash cloud, which meant there was less room for complacency.

In a report, the health board’s director of public health added that scientists and medics in the Lothians were working closely with others across the globe to address potential challenges, like the swine flu pandemic.

She said: “The H1N1 flu pandemic is an example of a global and local problem that required global and local solutions.

“It has been necessary to work closely with local, national and international bodies to develop an effective response.

“It is vital to look at how other countries dealt with the pandemic and learn from their experiences. It is also essential that we continue to feed back our own experiences to the international community.

“We live in uncertain times and cannot assume that our freedom to travel, to consume and to access financial and natural resources will continue unchecked.

“The volcanic eruptions in Iceland and Indonesia and the devastating tragedy in Japan demonstrate that it is important to be prepared for all potential challenges to public health, be they local, national or global.”