The latest swine flu figures from Ukraine say more than a million people have been affected by the virus, and that number could rise dramatically.
As many as 174 people have now died from the flu and President Viktor Yushchenko has warned of a second wave of infections. His gloomy prognosis contradicted his prime minister who said the outbreak was under control. Yulia Timoshenko told a visiting World Health Organisation delegation that things had improved, but she ordered schools across the country to close for three weeks just in case. It has all provoked a certain cynicism with elections around the corner. A group of girls used flu masks and imagination to accuse politicians of driving the panic to win support. One, dressed in a tiny bikini made of masks, said: “We are sure they created this to get votes. When we have elections in Ukraine everything is organised accordingly. So, this year we have flu, especially for the elections.” Yushchenko and Timoshenko are rivals in January’s presidential beauty contest. She proposed a delay because of the flu – he dismissed that idea and accused her of mishandling the epidemic.