Mexicans are preparing to get back to normal life after several days of self-imposed ‘flu quarantine. Health experts there believe shutting down the country’s restaurants, offices and other public places has given them the upper hand over the new Influenza A virus, which developed from swine ‘flu.
The World Health Organisation says there is still a need for vigilance. Keiji Fukuda, the Assistant Director-General of the WHO said: “It’s critical that we continue to maintain and strengthen our alertness and surveillance. We have concerns about the infection travelling to the southern hemisphere because that part of the world will be heading into the winter months.” More than 1,000 people in 20 countries have caught this new strain. And there have been 26 confirmed deaths in Mexico. Spain’s 54 cases puts it at the top of the league table in Europe. But a leading researcher there said that should be kept in perspective. “We are a little surprised at how the media have reacted to this ‘flu,” said Vicente Larraga, the Director of the Spanish Research Council. “By now, it’s acting in a very mild way. The impact is more or less the same as normal seasonal ‘flu, and fewer people have died.” Mexico is sending a plane to China to pick up dozens of its citizens, quarantined by the Beijing authorities. One hotel in Hong Kong has been completely sealed off after a Mexican guest was diagnosed with the virus. Mexico accused China of picking on its citizens elsewhere in the country too, whether or not they were ill. But China has denied any discrimination, saying the confinements were simply protective measures.