05/25/2009, 00.00
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Swine Flu: fears subside in Japan. New cases in China

Infections in China rise to nine. Each of the cases contacted the virus abroad. Schools re-open in Japan and the ban on public gathering sis lifted. Swine Flu is compared to seasonal flu.

Hong Kong (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Beijing confirmed two more cases of influenza A(H1N1) yesterday, bringing the number of swine flu patients to nine, and two more suspected cases. The two cases include a 46-year-old man, in Beijing, returned from a visit to Canada who voluntarily went to hospital for treatment with flu symptoms.  The other is a 21 year-old girl who arrived in Wenzhou (Zhejiang) from the US via Hong Kong and who was hospitalised with a high fever. 30 of the  people who travelled with her from Hong Kong have been located. Her parents and a taxi driver were under medical observation.

The suspected cases are instead a young man from Zhejiang, travelling from New York, and a 30 year-old woman from Shanghai travelling from Melbourne (Australia).

Meanwhile in Japan, schools started to reopen yesterday as concern that swine flu may spread nationwide eased, prompting the government to leave local authorities in charge of dealing with outbreaks of the virus. Hyogo prefecture's largest city, Kobe, had the first confirmed case of the H1N1 virus in someone who had not travelled abroad. The prefecture's entire school system, including many day-care facilities, was shut as a result.

As of today schools in other cities of Japan also reopen.  The ban on public gatherings has also been eased.

Japan has the highest number of infections outside the United States and Mexico, but there have been no fatalities and most cases have been mild. Chief Cabinet Secretary Takeo Kawamura says “

"This virus should be considered more like a seasonal flu than a deadly disease such as avian flu or Sars", referring to the 2003 outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome that spread to 29 countries and killed almost 800 people. He added "People should remain cautious but calm."

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See also
Mass swine flu vaccination in China as peak time approaches
Swine flue: mass vaccination for government and party officials in China
Swine flu: WHO braced to declare global “pandemic”
WHO maintains swine flu alert, but virus is on decline
WHO: H1N1, virus "no half measures." Race for vaccines continues


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