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Pattaya Daily News

10 July 2009 :: 13:07:25 pm 35988

School Closures as Swine Flu Spreads.

Officials have ordered the temporary closure of schools and internet cafe's, after a recently reported increase of the Swine Influenza A/H1N1, the first two cases being reported in early May with more than 1,500 people being infected.
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As of Thursday, the Thai Public Health Ministry have reported 211 newly infected cases, bringing the total to 2,925, more than double reported at the end of June.

In terms of death the A/H1N1 flu has claimed thirteen lives as of Thursday 9th July, compared with only three deaths reported at the end of June.

All Hospitals, under supervision of the Public Health ministry, are offering a one stop service to screen patients with flu symptoms in an attempt to contain the new virus strain.

Thursdays cabinet meeting endorsed that all tutoring schools throughout Thailand will be closed from July 13th-28th, as many of the infected are students and have contracted the virus from tutoring schools. The cabinet, also asks that Internet cafes co-operate with the government by closing their businesses during this time. Other places such as cinemas, concert halls and nightclubs that have poor ventiation should be monitored added the Minister.

The move came, after Wednesdays meeting with the Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva and the Public Health Minister Witthaya Kaewparadai that there was no need to close down the country to halt the spread of the Influenza.

The Premier accepted that the number of A H1N1 patients may be higher than those confirmed by lab tests, but affirmed that the government is not glossing over the situation or with holding information.

The latest victims were a 52 year old policeman who died in Bangkok on Wednesday and on Thursday a high school student died in northeast Mahasarakham province and a 45 year old man (details of man not yet known).

It is said that the policeman had undergone a kidney transplant before contracting the virus. The procedure required him to take medication to suppress his immune system, making him more vulnerable to infections.


On Thursday, Tourism and Sports Minister Chumpol Silpa-archa, made known his intention of meeting his Chinese counterpart next month to discuss tourism promotions between the two countries, after his comment that the flu pandemic is expected to continue for months and will add to the burdens of Thailand’s tourism sector, which has been suffering from the global problems.

Academics see the epidemic as a big blow to the Thai economy, as the Economic and Business Forecast Center at the University of the Chamber of Commerce Thamawat Polwichai, warned on Wednesday that unless the government fails to curb the outbreak, Thailand’s economy will sink even further.

In the face of the continuing spread of swine flu, the opposition Peua Thai Party has called for Public Health Minister Witthaya to resign, suggesting his incapability in handling the A H1N1 flu problem.

Witthaya responded on Wednesday that the party should not play politics with the ministry, because it will unfairly pressurise medical personnel.

Abhisit said that the situation will be closely monitored and patients will be under close observation. Abhisit vowed that his government will expand its response ro contain the A H1N1 outbreak and to bring a halt to the rising death toll and is also considering establishing a special task force unit to look after patients seriously suffering from the disease.

According to latest figures from the U.N.World Health Organisation, there have been more than 94,000 swine flu cases worldwide and 429 deaths. Elsewhere in the Asia Pacific region Australia has reported 10 deaths and the Philippines, one. New Zealand Health Ministry spokeswoman, Dr. Sandy Dawson, commented that the country’s six deaths announced since Saturday, shows how quickly complications can arise in those with known risk factors and the need to monitor people’s conditions very closely. Five of the six victims had pre-existing medical conditions.

New Zealand’s count of confirmed cases of the virus rose sharply to 1,431 on Thursday, up 158 from the day before.

Indonesian Health Minister Siti Fadilh Supari said a staff member at the U.S. Embassy in the capital, Jakarta, was among 24 of newly confirmed cases of swine flu. The country’s count overall is 52.

Australian Embassy spokesman declined to give details.

Reporter : PDN staff   Photo : Internet   Category : Thailand News

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