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City in Mindoro under state of calamity due to A(H1N1) infections

July 23, 2009 3:12pm
Due to fears of a possible outbreak of Influenza A(H1N1) virus, a city in Oriental Mindoro was placed under state of calamity Thursday, after fever downed over 400 students there.

Calapan City Mayor Salvador Leachon said the declaration of a state of calamity will enable the local government to use the calamity fund allocated by the national government to purchase medicines and other products for flu prevention in affected areas.

A radio report quoted local health officials as saying that 10 of the 400 students sickened with flu tested positive for the A(H1N1) virus.

Classes in the elementary and high school levels in public schools in the city were suspended Thursday. Classes will resume on August 1, the report said.

Parents of sickened students have been advised to stay home and subject themselves to self-quarantine to prevent the spread of the virus.

Health workers have launched operations to disinfect schools and other public places, even as the local health department has intensified its anti-A(H1N1) information campaign, the report added.

In a related development, the Colegio San Agustin in Biñan, Laguna has suspended classes from Friday to August 3 after one case of A(H1N1) was confirmed there for the first time, the school's human resources staff said Thursday.

In June, the Health department declared a community-level outbreak in the town of Jaen in Nueva Ecija in Central Luzon. Shortly after, the local municipal government placed the town under a state of calamity after the virus spread to at least three villages there.

The national government released some P600,000 in calamity fund to the local government of Jaen for the purchase of medicines and relief goods for residents in affected villages.

Around 40 students fell ill at the Hilera Elementary School, forcing school officials to suspend classes. More than 100 residents from the three villages in Jaen were monitored for the virus.

Since the third week of May, when the Health department confirmed the first A(H1N1) case in the country, several schools in Metro Manila either postponed school opening in June or suspended their classes for several days at the first sign of infection among their students.

On July 8, a university in Baguio City in northern Luzon and two schools in Bacolod City in Western Visayas were reported to have suspended their classes after some of their students were infected with the mutant flu virus, or manifested symptoms of the disease.

On June 9, officials of some universities and colleges in Cebu City in Central Visayas decided to defer the June 15 school opening as a precautionary measure against the mutant flu virus.

In Eastern Visayas, confirmed flu cases rose to 100 last week.

As of July 9, 2009, the Health department has recorded 2,688 cases with a 95 percent recovery rate at 2,543.

Last Wednesday, the fifth A(H1N1)-related death was recorded in Tacloban City in Eastern Visayas. The victim was 56-year-old American teacher, who died due to heart attack. Health officials said the flu virus could not immediately be connected to her death.

As of July 6, the World Health Organization recorded 94,512 confirmed cases worldwide with 429 deaths. - Mark Merueñas, GMANews.TV