Mexican ambassador tries to reassure Israelis over virus

Another suspected case found of woman on flight from Spain.

Mexico swine flu masks 248.88 (photo credit: AP)
Mexico swine flu masks 248.88
(photo credit: AP)
As another Israeli woman returning from Mexico was suspected Tuesday of having contracted H1N1 swine flu, Mexican Ambassador to Israel Federico Sallas briefed health journalists to put the supposed health crisis in proportion. The Health Ministry said the suspected case was a 49-year-old woman who was on the Iberia Airlines flight 3752 from Madrid on May 2. Another Israeli passenger on the flight had swine flu, but has fully recovered. The ambassador said that when the outbreak of the new flu strain was announced in Mexico, measures were taken to try to prevent its spreading, deal with the cases that had appeared, and coordinate international efforts to inform and prevent its extension under the guidelines of the World Health Organization (WHO). The measures taken included the suspension of all activities in schools, recommendations to avoid public places, and health prevention norms. Tuesday was the last day of the suspension of all nonessential activities in Mexico City. All public spaces, such as restaurants, cinemas, clubs and stadiums, had been shut down or their activities restricted to prevent crowds of people, he said. "It seems that the measure, while severe, has worked... We hope to be able to return to normality soon, although this may have to be done in stages. For example, higher-level Mexican schools may open on May 7 and the rest on May 11." The official Mexican figures are 19 dead, with 506 of 1,500 people tested found positive for the infection. Thus, 487 Mexicans have survived swine flu, and "only 19 died," he said. Originally, hundreds of Mexicans were reported to have died of complications. Just four Israelis were found to be infected, and all of them have recovered. The ambassador stressed that the new swine flu strain "is an international problem that requires concerted and cooperative action worldwide. Mexico has been coordinating its activities with the WHO and kept it informed of every step taken." The WHO has not recommended travel restrictions to Mexico, he concluded.