May 24 (Bloomberg) — Australia’s swine flu cases increased to 16 after new infections were confirmed in its southern Victorian state, while South Korea, Japan and Hong Kong also added to their tolls.

Two more people were diagnosed with the virus in Victoria, Australia, the Herald Sun newspaper reported, citing state Health Minister Daniel Andrews. South Korea confirmed four more swine flu cases, increasing its total to 10; Hong Kong’s government confirmed two more cases, bringing the total number of infections in the city to six, and Japan confirmed a new case in the city of Osaka.

Confirmed swine flu cases globally total 12,022 in 43 countries, with 86 people killed by the virus, according to the World Health Organization’s latest tally. Still, the WHO said on May 22 the virus would need to be global and show significant harm to people before declaring a pandemic.

Australia’s government on May 22 updated its pandemic alert to “contain,” the third-highest level. The next level, “sustain,” means the virus is established and spreading.

An order for vaccines to protect the nation of 21 million people from the virus is “under active consideration,” the country’s health department said.

“We expect to have a number further confirmed later today,” Australian Health Minister Nicola Roxon said on Channel 9 before the new cases were announced. “It’s serious, but it’s not yet widespread.”

Confirmed Cases

A 15-year old schoolboy and a 27-year old man have been diagnosed with the virus in Melbourne, the Herald Sun newspaper reported. There are 11 confirmed human swine flu cases in Victoria state, the Herald Sun reported, with the other cases elsewhere in Australia.

Meanwhile a 12-year-old boy from Adelaide, South Australia state, whose sister and mother tested positive and whose own result was inconclusive, is to be treated as “clinically positive,” Australian Associated Press reported in an article carried on the Sydney Morning Herald’s Web site, citing the state’s chief medical officer.

Japan today confirmed the virus in a 19-year-old male in Osaka whose family member also has swine flu. That brings the total number of confirmed cases in that city to 112, and 334 nationwide, according to a statement from the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare today.

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The Philippines today reported the nation’s second swine flu confirmed case in a 50-year old woman who recently returned from Chicago, state-run Xinhua News Agency said, citing a health official.

Five U.S. citizens and a Vietnamese are among the confirmed cases in South Korea, with the others being South Korean, the nation’s health ministry said.

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A 30-year-old Taiwanese woman and her five-year-old daughter who traveled in the Philippines for five days have tested positive for the virus in Taiwan, ABS-CBN news said on its Web site yesterday, citing Taiwan’s Center for Disease Control. The two are among four new cases of swine flu, which brings Taiwan’s total to six, it said.

Singapore had two additional swine flu cases for investigation, the city-state’s health ministry said on its Web site yesterday. Of the 42 cases investigated so far, 34 cases have tested negative for swine flu and 8 tested positive for the typical seasonal flu strains, according to the health ministry.

China has 7 confirmed cases of the H1N1 flu virus and one suspected case as of 12 p.m. today, according to a statement on the health ministry Web site.

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