May 26 (Bloomberg) — Australia has 23 confirmed cases of swine flu, with that number set to rise, Health Minister Nicola Roxon said.

Cases have been confirmed in five of Australia’s eight states and territories, with 13 confirmed in southern Victoria state. The 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.

“The disease is spreading and there will be more people confirmed as having swine flu,” Roxon told reporters in Canberra, adding that there are 55 suspected cases and five schools have been closed.
An order for vaccines to protect the nation of 21 million people from the virus is “under active consideration,” (Snip)

Students returning from countries with a high number of swine flu cases, including Mexico, Canada, the U.S. and Japan, will have to stay away from Australian schools for one week, Roxon said.