By FRANK JORDANS (Associated Press Writer)
From Associated Press
April 26, 2009 7:58 AM EDT
GENEVA – The World Health Organization tried to determine Sunday how to battle a deadly new strain of swine flu, holding teleconferences with staff and flu experts around the world as countries from New Zealand to France reported suspected cases.
WHO stopped short of recommending specific measures to stop the disease, urging governments to step up their surveillance of suspicious outbreaks but leaving further decisions up to individual nations.
Governments across Asia began quarantining those with symptoms of the deadly virus and some issued travel warnings for Mexico.
Spain’s Health Ministry said three people who just returned from Mexico were under observation in hospitals in the northern Basque region, in southeastern Albacete and the Mediterranean port city of Valencia.
The WHO’s pandemic alert level is currently at to phase 3. The organization said the level could be raised to phase 4 if the virus shows sustained ability to pass from human to human.
Phase 5 would be reached if the virus is found in at least two countries in the same region.
“The declaration of phase 5 is a strong signal that a pandemic is imminent and that the time to finalize the organization, communication, and implementation of the planned mitigation measures is short,” WHO said.
Phase 6 would indicate a full-scale global pandemic.
Mexico closed schools, museums, libraries and theaters
A Russian health agency said any passenger from North America running a fever would be quarantined until cause of the fever is determined.