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Cablegate: London - Lessons Learned From Pandemic Influenza

VZCZCXRO7403
RR RUEHHM RUEHLN RUEHMA RUEHPB RUEHPOD
DE RUEHLO #3525/01 2570833
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 140833Z SEP 07
FM AMEMBASSY LONDON
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 5372
INFO RUEHZN/ENVIRONMENT SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY COLLECTIVE
RUEHBL/AMCONSUL BELFAST 0873
RUEHED/AMCONSUL EDINBURGH 0791
RUEAUSA/DEPT OF HHS WASHDC
RUEHPH/CDC ATLANTA GA
RUEHFSI/DIR FSINFATC
RHMFISS/HQ USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC
RUEHLO/USDAO LONDON UK

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 LONDON 003525

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

STATE FOR A/MED, OES/IHB, EUR/WE, CA/OCS, S/ES-O/CMS,
EUR-IO/EX, AND G/AIAG LANGE
FSINFATC FOR FSI/LMS/CMT

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KFLU CASC TBIO AMED AMGT UK
SUBJECT: LONDON - LESSONS LEARNED FROM PANDEMIC INFLUENZA
EXERCISE


LONDON 00003525 001.2 OF 002


1. (SBU) SUMMARY: Post held a Pandemic Influenza
Tabletop Exercise (PI TTX) on September 7 with members
of the Embassy's Pandemic Influenza Working Group
(PIWG) and officials from the U.S. Department of
Defense's (DOD) 3rd Air Force in the UK, and U.S. Air
Force Europe (USAFE), located at Ramstein Air Base,
Germany. Key topics in the exercise that need further
attention include 1) coordinating communication among
the Embassy, American citizens and DOD, 2) shelter-in-
place guidelines, and 3) distribution of prophylaxis.
Embassy tripwires will be revised based on feedback
from participants in the exercise.

2. (SBU) BACKGROUND: The purpose of the PI TTX was to
use recently revised Embassy tripwires in the scenario,
and identify areas that required additional review.
The PI TTX consisted of a fictional scenario in three
segments, covering approximately one and half months
in time. The scenario began at World Health
Organization (WHO) Phase 3 (no or very limited human-
to-human transmission) and ended at WHO Phase 6
(pandemic underway). Participants in the exercise
included all members of the PIWG: Medical; Environment,
Science, Technology and Health Section; Consular;
Community Liaison Office; Public Affairs; Management,
Human Resources; Regional Security Office; Defense
Attach Office. In addition, staff members from the
48th Medical Group at RAF Lakenheath participated in
the PI TTX to ensure coordination between their
personnel, who are not in the Embassy Chief of Mission
(COM) chain of command, and the Embassy.

3. (SBU) COORDINATING COMMUNICATION: The key issue
identified from the PI TTX was coordinating
communication. Throughout the scenarios, participants
realized that significant coordination was required to
ensure a consistent message was being delivered inside
the Embassy, with Amcits, to the media and with DOD
personnel in the UK not under COM authority. In
addition, coordination with HMG policy and outreach
would be essential to avoid conflicting guidance.

4. (SBU) SHELTER-IN-PLACE GUIDELINES: Throughout the
scenarios, significant discussion focused on when
shelter-in-place would be appropriate and the
subsequent impact on essential operations. DOS and
DHS recommendations to maintain a stockpile of food
and water for 12 weeks are not generally practical
given small housing in the UK. Participants believe
that the water supply in the UK will not be affected
in the event of a pandemic, so purifying water (e.g.
using bleach) would be better than storing it. MGMT
and HR emphasized that limited tele-work options
currently exist and could be used if needed. In
addition, the Embassy alert system via mobile text
messaging (SMS) will be a valuable tool to keep
employees informed.

5. (SBU) DISTRIBUTION OF PHARMACEUTICALS:
Participants discussed the issues surrounding the
distribution of prophylaxis, including the physical
distribution, who gets it, how to evaluate potential
recipients (e.g. telephonic vs. in person), security
measures during distribution, and when it should be
administered. It is expected that in the event of an
outbreak, Embassy employees and Amcits will be seeking
prophylaxis even before symptoms arise. Participants
accepted that we will need to primarily rely on the
host country for medical care in the event of a
pandemic. Consular (American Citizen Services) has
discussed this issue with HMG, including the question
of Amcits visiting the UK, and was told that HMG would
be prepared to assist anyone with medical care
regardless of nationality or residence status, in the
event of a pandemic affecting the UK.

6. (SBU) NEXT STEPS: 1) Embassy tripwires will be
revised based on input from the PI TTX and reviewed at

LONDON 00003525 002.2 OF 002


the next working group. 2) The next working group
meeting will focus on establishing communication POCs,
particularly focused on sharing Embassy information
with DOD not under COM authority. 3) MED will continue
to review its pharmaceutical distribution method to
Embassy staff in the event of a pandemic. 4) Post
will continue to work with HMG to better understand
host nation capabilities, based on the questions and
issues raised during the PI TTX.

Visit London's Classified Website:
http://www.state.sgov.gov/p/eur/london/index. cfm
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