Japan: 640,000 deaths expected if flu spreads

The Japanese government predicts as many as 640,000 Japanese will die if bird flu develops into a human form that spreads widely, and it is forming a committee to draw up an outbreak action plan, a newspaper reported Saturday. Influenza countermeasures recommended by the committee may include temporarily closing schools, amusement parks and other public places where people congregate and adopting travel restrictions, the Asahi newspaper said, without citing its sources. The government is forming the committee as early as Tuesday to draw up an action plan, working on the assumption that one-in-four Japanese contract the virus, the report said. In such an outbreak, the government forecasts that between 170,000 and 640,000 people will die and that between 530,000 and 2 million people will be hospitalized.
More about:Japan, Asahi Shimbun