The latest news stories from the major news organizations in Cebu and Manila in the Philippines, the US and other countries.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

May 4, 2009 Major News Stories

Iloilo man quarantined, cleared of swine flu

The man was released from the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) in Manila on Sunday after the test turned negative for the virus, Valencia said in a telephone interview.

The WHO has reported that 16 countries have officially reported 658 cases of A (H1N1) infections and 17 deaths. In Mexico, believed to be the epicenter of an imminent pandemic, almost a thousand flu cases, over 150 of which ended in deaths, were believed to have been caused by the virus.

Latest A/H1N1 flu developments in Asia 

Hong Kong reported no new confirmed case of Influenza A/H1N1 apart from the city's first case involving a Mexican man, who was now in stable condition in a local hospital, officials said Sunday.

Hong Kong's Center for Health Protection received reports on 15 patients in line with the reporting criteria for Influenza A/H1N1, but the possibility of infection has been ruled out for five of them, while laboratory tests on the other 10 were still going on, said Thomas Tsang, controller of the center.

Authorities were still trying to track down no more than 50 of the guests who have not contacted health authorities since the quarantine order was enforced, Tsang told reporters at a daily briefing on the latest flu-related developments.

Meanwhile, the governments in the region continue to be on high vigilance against the possible spread of the virus, initially known as "swine flu".

The New Zealand health authorities have earmarked funds for three hotels as quarantine and treatment facilities to handle growing cases of Influenza A/H1N1.

The hotels, near the Auckland International Airport, were rolled into the action plan to combat the virus after officials had trouble finding locations to quarantine international visitors, the New Zealand Herald online reported on Sunday.

The health authorities dealing with the flu were stepping up their efforts to gather information from passengers arriving at Auckland International Airport.

All passengers flying into New Zealand from any destination will now be asked to fill out a form, Radio New Zealandquoted Health Minister Tony Ryall as saying.

The Ministry of Health said that within New Zealand there are now four confirmed cases of A/H1N1 flu, 12 probable cases and 101 suspected cases.

In Australia, Health Minster Nicola Roxon said on Sunday the flu is likely to come to Australia at some point but the government is ready to act when it does.

No one has so far tested positive to the virus, but 80 people have been still waiting for test results in Australia, according to the federal Health Department.

Thailand on Sunday raised its Influenza A/H1N1 preventive measures to "maximum", with all visitors even dignitaries entering the country subjected to thermal scanners.

The heat-detecting devices will be installed at airports and border checkpoints as part of stepped-up surveillance for the flu. Thai Deputy Prime Minister Sanan Kajornprasart and Manit on Saturday inspected the quarantine center at Suvarnabhumi airport where six scanners have been installed.

Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva on Sunday said no case was found inflected by the deadly A/H1N1 flu virus and there was no need to be panic.

The government has stocked enough antiviral medicine and taken adequate measures to prevent the disease but the public should often wash hands and take care of personal hygiene, he said in a weekly national radio and TV address.

Health officials are gearing up for the arrival of a group of 14 Thai students and volunteers from Mexico, where the Influenza A/ H1N1 broke out, said Deputy Prime Minister Sanan. The group, the first to come from Mexico since the outbreak, will undergo a thorough health examination at the airport.

There are two patients under health quarantine -- a 42-year-old woman and 46-year-old man -- at state hospitals. Health officials said initial test results showed the woman was free of the flu, but more tests were under way.

3 swine flu cases confirmed in LA 

Steve Martin  - "I've got to keep breathing. It'll be my worst business mistake if I don't."

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