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  • » 04/29/2009, 00.00


    Every means being tried to stop swine flu

    From blocking of flights to and from Mexico to temperature scanners in the airports, and limitations on visas for Mexicans. The experience of SARS and bird flu is showing itself useful for China and the countries of southeast Asia. Stocks in companies in the tourism and travel industry falling, pharmaceutical stocks gaining.

    Hong Kong (AsiaNews/Agencies) - "If there's anything good that came out from SARS and avian influenza, it's that we now have better preparedness in China as well as in the rest of the world" in confronting swine flu. "What is important is a transparency and an openness not only with the WHO but also with the public." These are the comments of Hans Troedsson, a representative of the World Health Organization in China - but his considerations apply for much of southeast Asia - who represents the stance of the much of the continent in facing the threat represented by this worldwide infection.

    The death toll remains at 159, all of them in Mexico, although the WHO "recognizes" only seven of these. There are 2,498 infections "suspected", and 18 "confirmed" in Mexico, 70 in Australia, 65 in the US, 42 in Colombia, 24 in Chile, 14 in New Zealand, 13 in Canada, one in South Korea, four in Hong Kong, two in Scotland, two in Spain, two in Israel, one in Costa Rica, and one in Germany.

    Prevention measures are being planned or implemented everywhere. In Hong Kong, and in many Asian airports, temperature scanners are being used, making it possible to identify which passengers have a fever. Japan has announced a further step, imposing restrictions on visas for Mexicans, in addition to inviting its own citizens to avoid going to that country, and urging them, wherever they are, to return home. Jiji Press also reports that the government has reserved 500 rooms near Tokyo's Narita International Airport, to quarantine travelers who may be infected.

    Bans or severe limitations on flights to and from Mexico have also been imposed by Argentina and Cuba. For now, the United States and Europe are limiting themselves to discouraging them.

    In India and Thailand, they are trying to locate people who have recently returned from Mexico and the United States, to conduct medical tests on them.

    Saudi Arabia announces that it is considering the installation of temperature scanners to monitor all of those who arrive by sky, sea, or land from places where the presence of the virus is suspected. Committees to decide preventive measures have been announced by the United Arab Emirates and by Yemen.

    In Israel, next to the two verified cases there are two more that are suspected, and another person being monitored. The government held an emergency meeting overnight. A meeting is scheduled for tomorrow among Israeli, Egyptian, and Palestinian health authorities, to agree on the measures to be taken.

    Almost all of the world markets are showing a drop in stocks related to tourism and travel, and a rise in pharmaceutical stocks.

    IN THE PHOTO: A sign in a Taiwan airport

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    See also

    27/04/2009 ASIA
    Swine flu: Asia mobilizes against threat of pandemic
    Suspected cases in Israel and Hong Kong. Severe controls in the airports, with instruments to measure body temperature. Exported American pork prohibited in China, Russia, and other countries. Experts: if the flu spreads to the populated areas of India and China, it will be difficult to contain it.

    05/05/2009 CHINA – MEXICO
    Swine flu: Mexico and China rush to repatriate nationals
    Tens of Mexicans leave China. A plane chartered by the Chinese government flies 200 Chinese tourists out of Mexico. The alert remains high but fear subsides.

    28/04/2009 ASIA
    Swine Flu: close to pandemic proportions
    WHO: raises its pandemic alert level to phase four. A similar Flu, 40 years ago, caused over one million deaths. Deaths in Mexico, suspected cases in many nations among them, Israel and South Korea. A vaccine will take months to produce. Airline shares slide.

    06/05/2009 ASIA - CHINA
    Swine flu: Korean nun, first direct transmission in Asia
    The religious sister had not been in infected areas. Rigid quarantine measures throughout Asia, in Brunei 200 British soldiers are isolated. Chinese returned from Mexico in good health. China allocates 5 billion Yuan to prevention.

    14/07/2009 ASIA
    Swine flue: Indonesia fears combination of avian and swine flues
    A total of 86 cases have been reported in Indonesia. Thailand shuts down 435 schools and 200 kindergartens in Bangkok for disinfection. In Saudi Arabia one school is closed after 20 students test positive. Bahrain tells people to avoid pilgrimage to Makkah.

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