China Fears New H1N1 Virus Outbreak
The Chinese Health Ministry has announced that the H1N1 virus is rapidly spreading into China’s vast countryside.
“Outbreaks in Beijing, Shanghai, other large cities and in schools have seen an obvious decline, but the virus continues to spread into villages and communities,” the ministry said.
The BBC reported that The government has been especially worried as the country heads into the depths of winter and ahead of the Lunar New Year holiday in February, when millions of people travel back to their home towns — potentially taking flu with them.
“The risk of catching H1N1 will increase, and the virus prevention situation is still grim,” the ministry added. “It is expected that for the period to come the virus will spread briskly.”
According to the BBC, China is also concerned that not enough people have been vaccinated against the virus, and that the flu will be hard to control once it reaches the poor and underdeveloped rural hinterland, where most the country’s 1.3 billion people live.
The Health Ministry emphasized that the Chinese government is rushing to send medical equipment such as respirators to 17 central and western provinces to “increase the overall ability to deal with severe cases.”