10/30/2009, 00.00
ASIA
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Seoul: blood supply for only 3 days. Donors fear Swine Flu

by Theresa Kim Hwa-young
According to the Red Cross there are only 15 thousand units left. Japan closes 14 thousand schools in a week. Chinese health authorities reported that 8 out of 10 cases of influenza caused by H1N1 virus. In India the Chief Minister of Gujarat infected.

Seoul (AsiaNews) - The panic generated by swine flu caused a drastic drop in blood donations in South Korea shortly hospitals could run out of stock. In China, meanwhile, 80% of flu cases are due to the H1N1 virus, while in Japan, the authorities have prepared the closure of about 14 thousand schools across the country to prevent new infections.

According to the South Korean Red Cross there are only 15,756 units of blood condensed left, enough to cover the needs of three days. On average, stocks should cover at least a week. The shortage particularly regards the blood group 0, the stocks of which will end within a couple of days, the same goes for groups A and AB.   Health experts blame the crisis on a decline in donors, alarmed by the danger of contracting the new flu. "Since last August, as the virus began to spread, students from over 200 schools - says a spokesman for the Red Cross - and a large number of soldiers have cancelled reservations”.  

The number of infections in South Korea has reached 100 thousand, with 8 thousand new cases a day. Only yesterday there were 9766 cases of infection, the number of victims has risen to 34, with the death yesterday of a woman of 82 years. 311 schools have been closed across the country, including 46 kindergartens, 164 elementary schools, 64 middle schools and 9 vocational schools.  

To combat the spread of influenza Japan has also ordered the closure of school buildings: about 14 thousand between 18 and 24 October, almost 9 thousand more than the previous week.

In China, health authorities say that 8 out of 10 cases of flu in the country are caused by the H1N1 virus. "The number of swine flu infections ... is growing rapidly," says Liang Wannian, deputy director of the Department for public health emergencies within the Department of Health. "There are more serious and fatal cases”. He adds that 96.4% of strains of the flu develop in schools.  

In Beijing, there are 6 thousand new cases a day, a number five times higher than the same period last year. But the peak is expected around the Chinese New Year, with "12 thousand cases a day of swine flu" adds Laiying Fang, head of the Department of Health in Beijing.  

In India the number of infections touches 14 thousand, with 463 confirmed deaths. Recent cases of infection have occurred in Kerala (27), Delhi (11), in Maharashtra (10), Karnataka (9) and Tamil Nadu (8). Among the states hardest hit Maharashtra with 197 deaths and 117 deaths in Karnataka. Today, all over the front pages of newspapers, the news that Narendra Modi, Chief Minister of Gujarat, has contracted swine flu.

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