Papers raise the alarm about swine flu


Chengdu Evening News
April 29, 2009

As more swine flu cases are being reported in various countries including China’s neighbors South Korea and Thailand, flu-related news dominated the front pages of today’s newspapers. Within the country’s borders, there are already four patients in Hong Kong showing symptoms that match the description; there are no cases on the mainland at the time of writing.

The front page of most newspapers prominently featured President Hu Jintao’s call for stepped-up efforts to prevent swine flu.

According to Xinhua:

Chinese President Hu Jintao Tuesday ordered the country to step up inspection and quarantine measures to prevent swine flu from entering China and ensure public health and safety.

Hu urged local Party and government departments to stick to the people-first policy, closely monitor the global swine flu situation, and take prompt and comprehensive measures to deal with the virus, which had killed about 150 people in Mexico.

Officials should enhance international cooperation and public awareness of swine flu, and make full preparations of necessary materials and technological reserves to combat the deadly virus, he said.

Today’s Chengdu Evening News uses a large number “4” in red on its cover to illustrate a report on the World Health Organization’s decision to raise the swine flu alert from Phase 3 to Phase 4, which indicates that the virus can cause “sustained human-to-human transmission and community-level outbreaks.”

Guangzhou’s New Express reported that tourism authorities have imposed a suspension on travel to Mexico, and have alerted citizens who are going to travel abroad. Other precautionary measures adopted by China include a suspension on pork product imports from Mexico and the United States.

There have been rumors about a swine flu outbreak in Shaanxi Province. Today’s Oriental Morning Post, a Shanghai-based newspaper, reported that all of the 63 students and faculty members at a middle school in Lantian, Shaanxi, who fell ill earlier this month have recovered, and the possibility that they caught swine flu has been ruled out. A page-three article under the headline “Large likelihood that swine flu will spread to China” reported that the city of Shanghai “has raised its precautions to the same level as when SARS broke out in 2003”.

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