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Mayor Nagin Quarantined

In case you missed it over the weekend, Mayor Nagin has been quarantined in China after a passenger on his plane came down with flu symptoms. The story, however, just got stranger now that China won’t let Naggin communicate with the outside world:

BEIJING — They take their quarantines very, very seriously in China. They don’t even allow phone calls.

The mayor of New Orleans, Ray Nagin, is under lockdown in a suburban Shanghai hotel after a passenger on his flight from the U.S. exhibited symptoms of swine flu — and now his Chinese hosts are screening his calls “to keep him safe.”

Nagin and his wife Seletha have been in quarantine since Sunday, along with a member of the mayor’s executive protection team, after they had the misfortune of sitting within a few rows of a French student now confirmed ill with the A-H1N1 virus on their flight from the U.S.

Officials at the hotel where Nagin is quarantined, the Jinjiang Inn in Shanghai’s Nanhui district, have refused even to pass on telephone messages without the permission of the city’s Disease Control and Prevention Office. They, in turn, handed requests over to the municipal foreign affairs department, which yesterday claimed no knowledge of the case.

“We have to keep him safe,” said a woman who said she was acting as a translator at the hotel.

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