Thailand, 31st country with Swine Flu. WHO defends its alarm
by Weena Kowitwanij
Bangkok’s Minister for Health urges calm over prevention measures, after the infection of 2 Thai people returning from Mexico is confirmed. The WHO still talks of pandemic: 5 thousand people are now confirmed to be infected. Cases in Cuban and Finland. Another suspected case in China.

Bangkok (AsiaNews) – Two Thais who returned from Mexico on 9 of May and 12 of May are confirmed to be infected with Swine Flu.  The H1N1 infected. The first, after a high fever, is now well; the second is under medical care. Minister for Health Vitaya Kaewparadia, has urged calm among the population and for Thai people “not to worry about measures of control”.  Dr. Maureen Birmingham, World Health Organization (WHO) representative in Thailand has announced that the nation is the 31st worldwide to be hit by the virus.  She has also confirmed that the severity of the epidemic is unclear, whether the alarm level will remain at 4 or increase to 6 (maximum alert).

The WHO raised the global alert level to 5 two weeks ago, saying that a pandemic is “imminent”, after both Mexico and the United States confirmed human to human transmissions of the H1N1 swine flu virus.

Speaking yesterday in Geneva, WHO acting assistant director general Keiji Fukuda, once again defended the decision to raise the alert to level 5, saying that the number of confirmed infections now stands at 5 thousand and that apart from Thailand, Finland and Cuba have also confirmed their first cases.

China too, which has put in place strict prevention measures, has registered another suspected case of swine flu.  A man in Shandong, who travelled from Canada last week, is in Beijing hospital suffering from symptoms.  If confirmed, it would be the second case in China.