Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko greeting a young patient while visiting a children’s hospital in Kiev on Friday.
The World Health Organization said Friday that a “high to very high intensity of respiratory diseases” had been reported in Russia and Belarus but it was now less concerned about a big outbreak in Ukraine.
“The initial analysis of information from Ukraine indicates that the numbers of severe cases do not appear to be excessive when compared to the experience of other countries and do not represent any change in the transmission or virulence of the virus,” the WHO said in a statement posted on its web site.
Ukraine, Belarus and some Russian cities have recently extended school breaks because of fears about the pandemic virus. WHO spokesman Gregory Hartl said school closures were among steps that could slow viral spread at the beginning of an outbreak, but had less usefulness once the flu had reached 5 percent of a given population.
“After the virus becomes more widespread in a country, closing schools has less of an impact,” he told a news briefing earlier in the week. “If you make a decision to close schools and universities and other institutions you have to be aware there are social and economic consequences of this decision.”
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