Running total of the number of confirmed and suspect cases of Swine Flu in New Zealand:
May 15 Stats.
At a news conference in Wellington today the Health Minister Tony Ryall said that there are 72 isolation cases in Auckland, 16 in Wellington, 8 in Nelson, 7 in Wanganui with other regions also having a few cases.
Middlemore hospital, Auckland will be set up as a base to handle suspected cases because it is close to the international airport. It will be used to carry out clinical assessments, give treatment and operate as an isolation unit.
Similar set-ups may be established elsewhere in the country.
On Monday India issued a travel advisory on swine flu, asking Indians to restrict travel to the United States, Mexico, Canada, New Zealand and France. The UK has yet to do the same but has decided to update its advice on the Foreign and Commonwealth Travel Advisory page for NZ.
Yesterday NZ Prime Minister John Key (who is also Tourism Minister) warned that the Swine Flu outbreak may have a significant impact on the country’s tourism industry. Several Japanese tourists have already cancelled visits to the country.
Auckland Schools Remain Open
Media are reporting that the Rangitoto School was not closed following the confirmed outbreak amongst a group of students returning from a trip to Mexico. It also reports (perhaps in error) that the group are to be allowed out of quarantine following a 72 hour course of Tamiflu.
Advice on the Tamiflu website is that the drug should be taken for a twice daily period of 5 days (102 hours) for the treatment of Influenza and once daily for 10 days for prevention.
Outside of Mexico both the USA and UK have closed schools attended by students infected with Swine Flu.
UK and USA Ramp Up their Effort
A school in Torbay, England has closed for a week and children were given 10 day courses of Tamiflu as a preventative measure. New Zealand has not taken this step despite having 104 suspected and 13 confirmed cases. Britain is estimated to have sufficient supplies for 50% of the population (significantly more per capita than New Zealand’s 30%) and so far has reported 5 confirmed cases, all of them had travelled recently from Mexico.
By the end of May the UK will have expanded its anti-viral stocks from 30 to 50 million, enough to supply 80% of people and has distributed information leaflets to every family. No public indication has been given yet by NZ that it intends to increase its stockpiles of the drug and by how much.
It’s thought that as many as 100 schools have closed in the USA alone where there are just under 100 cases of infection, including one death.