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The Hamilton Spectator
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Thursday April 30, 2009
The United Nations public-health agency raised its global pandemic alert level to phase 5 from phase 4 Wednesday, indicating the A/H1N1 virus has caused outbreaks in at least two countries in one region. "All countries should immediately activate their pandemic preparation plans" and be on "high alert" for outbreaks, said WHO Director-General Margaret Chan.

WHO Director-General Margaret Chan issues a statement on the decision to raise the influenza pandemic alert to phase 5 and urging everyone to take the alert seriously. Video courtesy of Fox News. Mexican President Felipe Calderon said in a televised address that only essential businesses such as supermarkets, hospitals and pharmacies should stay open, and only critical government workers such as police and soldiers would be on duty from Friday through Tuesday. School had already been canceled nationwide.

The steps are aimed at stopping further spread of the virus, blamed for 168 deaths in Mexico and one in the U.S., even though the WHO has suggested nations should focus on minimizing its effects, not containing its spread.

Dr. Chan said the decision to raise the alert level was made after the agency established that sustained person-to-person transmission was occurring in the U.S., in addition to Mexico. The outbreak at a private school in the New York City borough of Queens caught the attention of WHO officials, because students who had traveled to Mexico returned to campus and infected others. Source.

WHO Warns of Imminent World-Wide Pandemic
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