by Staff Writers
Sydney (AFP) June 17, 2009
Australia raised its swine flu alert level Wednesday as the number of cases nationwide climbed above 2,000, Health Minister Nicola Roxon said.Roxon said the alert level would move to the newly-created “protect” level, meaning only the most vulnerable would receive anti-viral treatments such as Tamiflu and those with mild symptoms must rely on over-the-counter medicines.
“‘Protect’ recognises that the A(H1N1) swine flu is not as severe as originally envisaged,” she told reporters.
“This disease, as we know, is mild in most cases, severe in some and moderate overall. The overwhelming majority of patients are making a rapid and full recovery.”
Swine flu’s spread in Australia was cited as a factor in last week’s World Health Organization (WHO) decision to declare the first global pandemic in 40 years.
Roxon said the national tally was 2,026, with 1,210 in the hot-spot Victoria, although that state’s tally has not been updated for several days.
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