Hong Kong’s Chief Executive Donald Tsang announced today that beginning tomorrow all kindergartens, primary schools, and care centers in the city will be closed for 14 days. It was decided after it had been determined that the recent H1N1 flu cases had been transmitted within the local community. From Bloomberg.com: “The government is well prepared and will monitor developments closely,” Tsang said. “There’s no need to panic.”
The first locally contracted case in Hong Kong was confirmed yesterday in a 55-year-old man who developed the H1N1 influenza after attending a cocktail party. One secondary school, St. Paul’s Causeway Bay, confirmed that 12 of their students had contracted the virus and will be closing down for two weeks as well. It was the first local cluster of cases in the city.
Today, officials from 6 countries including Australia, Chile, Japan, Mexico, the U.K. and the U.S. were briefed by the World Health Organization about the level of pandemic alert. While there is cause for concern, it is a virus that in most cases does not cause more than a cough and fever. WHO chief Margaret Chan has said she believes the situation can be regarded as a pandemic but says she wants clear evidence before making an announcement.
Nearby Macao is also taking precautions. They decided to order one million doses of vaccines for emergency use. Each Macao resident will be able to acquire on average two doses of these vaccines, which will be shipped to Macao in October at the earliest.
As for us here in Shanghai, well, things seem to be getting more strict. New Orleans mayor Ray Nagin was released from quarantine. As of today, Shanghai has a total of 13 confirmed cases of H1N1 virus.