Holiday Illness Quarantine? Preventing the Spread of Infection (POSI)


If someone falls ill in a bustling holiday resort, it is possible that illness could spread.

Housekeeping in a hotel

Putting certain procedures in place can help reduce or prevent the spread of infection. So when you are abroad, what happens if a holiday illness takes over the resort? How does it happen? And what does the tour operator do about it?

What are the Procedures?

Recently, there have been holiday illness outbreaks in the Coral Sea Holiday Resorts and also Club Mac Alcudia in Majorca, and in response, Thomas Cook made the following statement:

"The Club Mac Alcudia management put into place internationally recognised Prevention of Spread of Infection (POSI) procedures, and an independent hygiene consultant supported their efforts while ensuring that the relevant guidelines were being followed."

But what does this mean? In the past, we've seen hotels do things such as call in health and safety experts, place hand sanitiser everywhere, and make staff wear latex gloves. What's worth pointing out is that while these procedures are for controlling the spread of infection, some simple practices can prevent an infection from occurring in the first place.

Washing hands, access to hand sanitisers, and proper cleaning of kitchen equipment and cutlery are all integral to preventing a holiday illness outbreak before it can begin. These are also things that are easy to do, and not unreasonable to expect.

Would you want a chef to wash his hands before preparing your food?

Is This Enough?

Nick Harris, Head of International Holiday Travel Law at Simpson Millar LLP identified that, "Whilst resorts do often acknowledge holiday illness outbreaks after pressure to do so, perhaps there is more that can be done to prevent the spread of infection."

"If a UK hospital caught wind of an infection, entire wards are closed off to the public to prevent its spread. In holiday resorts abroad, the places are kept open, funnelling more and more holidaymakers in, rather than shutting the resort and sending people to alternative accommodation."

We've stated before that if you have made arrangements to go on holiday, but find that there's a illness outbreak at the hotel, you aren't automatically allowed to get a refund, or be placed in a different hotel. Proper cleaning and sanitation however, should take place to prevent the spread of illness.

Far from denying the problem, hotels should tackle it head on so that containment and treatment can begin.

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