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News | Wednesday, 29 April 2009

MTA monitoring swine flu situation constantly

David Darmanin
The MTA is keeping its fingers crossed on developments regarding the swine flu outbreak originating from Mexico and spreading over to Europe over the last few days.
Although the authority assured that it “is constantly monitoring the international situation as it evolves,” no measures have been yet taken by the Maltese government in limiting the possible damage caused to Maltese tourism should travellers start fearing the use of international airports around the world.
Worse still, the World Health Organisation could recommend travel restrictions or border closures – although EU Health Commissioner, Androulla Vassiliou said that she does not “see any point of restricting travelling”.
Nevertheless the MTA said it “will take the necessary measures accordingly, depending on how this issue unfolds”.
The new strain of the swine flu virus was first detected by public health agencies last March in three areas of Mexico.
On 25 April, the WHO said the situation was of “public health emergency concern”, and governments all over the world released statements over the issue saying that the situation was being closely monitored.
On the morrow, some schools and universities in Mexico city were closed due to confirmed cases in students. On 27 April, Mexican government officials announced a nationwide shutdown of schools.
By yesterday, patients infected with the strain were confirmed in Canada, Spain, the UK, New Zealand and Isreal. With over 2,500 candidate cases carrying the strain, the WHO raised a pandemic alert level to 4 – meaning that there is “sustained human to human transmission”. Level 5 and 6 would represent “widespread human infection”.

ddarmanin@mediatoday.com.mt

 

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29 April 2009
ISSUE NO. 580

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