Hong Kong (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Hong Kong has recorded five deaths from swine flu in four days, including two in one day, yesterday. Also yesterday, Macau reported its first official death from the H1N1virus. The alert remains high in the international community against the new flu, while Beijing has announced the production of a vaccine.
Health authorities in Hong Kong are asking the public to remain alert against swine flu and urging those at risk to be vaccinated against seasonal flu. Yesterday a man of 47, sick with leukemia, who recently contracted the H1N1 virus died,. On September he was hospitalized and treated with Tamiflu, and he had difficulty breathing and high fever. Despite treatment his health deteriorated until his death yesterday afternoon. The second victim is a man of 59, suffering from a chronicillness.
The territory has seen nine deaths so far for swine flu, or complications of the virus. Yesterday, 321 new cases were reported, bringing the total to 12,456.
Macao's health authorities also confirmed the first death from the new influence: the victim is a woman of 40 years, who did not have chronic diseases or serious condition.
Beijing, meanwhile, has approved the production of a single dose vaccine, developed by the Chinese Sinovac. "Tests show that the vaccine is safe," said Zhang Wei, head of the Food and Drug Administration (SFDA). For the experts of the World Health Organization (WHO), the results are "encouraging" and they have invited the Chinese authorities to proceed with new tests.
Since the beginning of Ramadan there have been no victims among the Muslims on pilgrimage to the holy places of Islam. In recent weeks, health authorities in Saudi Arabia had raised the alarm over a possible "explosion in infection, following the influx of faithful for the minor pilgrimage - that can be done anytime of year - and the main pilgrimage, scheduled for November.
The Saudi Ministry of Health considers the situation in Mecca and Medina "reassuring", where there have been no deaths since 22 August, the date of commencement of the holy month for Muslims. Out of 28 cases of infection with H1N1 in Mecca and 17 in Medina, the patients recovered without further complications. In Saudi Arabia there have been 3500 cases of swine flu, 23 dead, so far.
According to WHO global data, new flu cases exceed 210 thousand; the pandemic has caused about 2200 deaths.