Philippines Chases Down 2 ‘American Idols’ To Check For Swine Flu Ahead Of Concert
First Published: May 15, 2009 8:51 AM EDT Credit: Getty Images
MANILA, Philippines -- Even “American Idols” are not exempted from swine flu checks.
Philippine health authorities had to chase down David Cook and David Archuleta, the winner and the runner-up of last season’s TV singing contest, to have them fill out a health checklist and report their temperatures at least twice a day before their open-air concert Saturday.
Edgardo Sabitsana, director of the quarantine bureau, said the celebrities rushed through the airport Wednesday without completing health checks that are mandatory for everyone entering the country.
Officials caught up with them in their hotel rooms Thursday and reminded them that they can be arrested if they do not cooperate, Sabitsana told The Associated Press.
“We had to mention the authority of the quarantine bureau … that we can do something if they refuse,” he said.
The singers were “very receptive, they were very cooperative,” Sabitsana said.
He said they were briefed about keeping a distance of six feet from other people, what to do if they exhibit flu-like symptoms, urged to use hand sanitizers and other “little things that their handlers may forget.”
Swine flu, a new human strain of influenza, has so far seen more than 6,600 cases in 33 countries and killed at least 69 people. Health officials have warned the virus could spark a pandemic, infecting millions of people with no natural immunity.
The Philippines has reported no case of swine flu, but authorities are taking no chances, especially with celebrities in contact with large numbers of fans.
The health secretary last week advised boxing star Manny Pacquiao to delay his return from the U.S. for fear he could infect huge crowds if he had fallen ill. But Pacquiao brushed aside the suggestion, saying he had no flu symptoms.
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