Talk about out of control. Pandemic. It is.
Mexico's government is suspending all nonessential activity of the federal government and private business as the number of confirmed swine flu cases jumped.
The decision came as global health authorities warned Wednesday that swine flu was threatening to bloom into a pandemic, and the virus spread farther in Europe even as the outbreak appeared to stabilize at its epicenter. A toddler who succumbed in Texas became the first death outside Mexico.
Health Secretary José Angel Córdova Villalobos announced the move to shut down most of the country’s government and economy shortly after his department reported that confirmed cases of infection with the new strain of influenza had risen. The death toll in Mexico is believed to be 160.
In addition to the deaths, the virus is believed to have sickened 2,498 people across Mexico. But only 1,311 suspected swine flu patients remained hospitalized, and a closer look at daily admissions and deaths at Mexico’s public hospitals suggests the outbreak may have peaked during three grim days last week when thousands of people complained of flu symptoms.
Health Secretary Jose Cordova said nonessential federal government offices will be closed from May 1-5. Friday is a national holiday in Mexico and many government offices are usually closed. He said all nonessential private businesses must also close for that period but essential services like transport, supermarkets, trash collection, hospital will remain open.
Cordova said at a news conference in Mexico City it was up to the heads of individual departments to determine which services were essential and which were nonessential, but he stressed that vital services like police agencies and airports would remain open, as would crucial economic services like telecommunications, pharmacies and public transportation.