05/06/2009, 00.00
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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.

Hong Kong (AsiaNews/Agencies) –A South Korean nun has tested positive for swine flu virus to become Asia's first case of person-to-person transmission. Meanwhile the 97 Chinese tourists stranded in Mexico by the flu scare, expected to arrive in Shanghai later today, appear healthy. Doctors on board are monitoring the passengers' health, and have described them as having “normal health conditions”.


However none of the dozens of Mexican tourists being quarantined in Shanghai have been able to leave the country, despite not showing symptoms of the virus.  Today the Health Minister said that their quarantine will finish tomorrow and they will be allowed leave.


About two dozen students from a Canadian university also remained in isolation in a hotel in Changchun , Jilin province despite having no apparent connection to the swine flu outbreak.


Premier Wen Jiabao announced yesterday that the central government has set aside a 5 billion Yuan to prevent the deadly swine flu virus from entering the mainland. Among the rigid measures being implemented, people from affected areas will have a thorough medical check-up, and transport vehicles and cargo from those areas sterilised.


Meanwhile Brunei authorities have confined about 200 British soldiers for 10 days after three showed flu symptoms. The soldiers, who flew from Britain for a military exercise, came through Hong Kong.


In Singapore, eight people who have returned from Mexico have been put under a week-long home quarantine, even though they show no symptoms: anyone who violated the quarantine order risks jail. While the Philippines is reportedly monitoring three people - including two Filipinos who arrived from Hong Kong - for suspected swine flu.


According to the World Health Organisation 21 countries have officially reported almost 1,500 cases, the worst effected being Mexico, the United States and Canada.  Yesterday a Texas woman with chronic health problems died from the H1N1 flu, the second death outside of Mexico. The WHO remains at pandemic alert level 5, meaning a pandemic is imminent.


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See also
Swine flu, alert level raised. Deaths and human to human infections.
Swine Flu: close to pandemic proportions
Swine flu: Asia mobilizes against threat of pandemic
WHO: almost one thousand new cases of swine flu a day
Swine flu: Mexico and China rush to repatriate nationals


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