06/15/2009, 00.00
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Swine flu: more cases in Thailand, China and India

Infections quadruple in Thailand. China and India report 196 and 23 cases respectively. Now the virus is spreading beyond tourist destinations with local hotbeds of infection.
Bangkok (AsiaNews/Agencies) – As the number of swine flu cases rises across Asia, the virus is having an impact on tourism.

In Thailand the number of people with the flu increased fourfold in four days. On 11 June 46 cases were confirmed by the Health Ministry; today that number was up to 201.

Thailand’s Education Ministry announced that eight schools had now closed indefinitely to avoid the spread of the flu among students.

Similarly, more than 30,000 schools in Thailand were instructed on how to tackle the H1N1 flu outbreak, which the World Health Organisation (WHO) has already declared a pandemic.

Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva warned that the situation was “not an easy fix” with tens of thousands of passengers arriving daily at airports from abroad.

“Definitely it will affect tourism, but I still think it’s better to be transparent. Trying to conceal what's happening will only make things worse,” the Thai leader said.

The H1N1 virus is also spreading locally. In China health authorities reported 31 more cases, bringing the total on the mainland on Monday to 196.

The health ministry said on its website late on Sunday that the cities of Beijing and Shanghai have reported more cases, as did provinces in central, eastern and southern China, where many tourist destinations are located.

About 1,500 cases have been reported in Australia. In New Zealand the number has reached 71. In India it now stands at 23, with 12 in the state of Andhra Pradesh alone.

So far most cases appear to be related to travellers who had been abroad; in particular to the Americas.

The WHO has already declared the outbreak a pandemic, affecting 74 countries with some 28,000 people with the virus and 145 dead, none in Asia.

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The influenza A virus has not mutated, vaccine should to be ready soon
Panic in Sri Lanka after the first swine flu case is detected
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