Mexico is getting back to work after its five day shutdown, although there are fears that lingering concerns over the H1N1 flu virus could continue to affect the economy.
It was business as usual on the streets of Mexico City, but many people in the shops, bars and restaurants were wearing face masks. “People moan when we ask them to wash their hands or fill out questionnaires, “ said one café owner,“we are having trouble making people comply with the rules.” Meanwhile, World Health Organisation experts will meet next week to decide whether drug manufacturers should switch from seasonal to pandemic flu vaccine production in response to the H1N1 outbreak: “Seasonal influenza is causing the death of between a quarter and half a million people a year. So this is a serious disease so we need also to protect these vulnerable people against this disease” said Marie-Paule Kieny, WHO Director of Vaccine Research. At least 20 companies worldwide make flu vaccines. Unless they have more than one plant, then producing a vaccine for the H1N1 strain would mean stopping seasonal vaccine production. The WHO says there have been 1,658 cases of the new flu in 23 countries. 29 people have died in Mexico and 2 in the US. Spain and Italy each have three more cases, while Germany has one further confirmed case.