People take to wearing face masks as swine flu spreads

With swine flu spreading rapidly in Ho Chi Minh City, some office buildings have begun to provide their tenants face masks and disinfectants.

People working in Diamond Plaza, Sun Wah Tower, and Melinh Point in District 1 have been asked to wear masks.

A railway employee wears a face mask as a precaution against contracting swine flu. With the epidemic becoming widespread, the threat of contracting it while using public transport is high(photo; Tuoi tre)

A fresh outbreak occurred in the Phu My Hung residential area in District 7. From just six cases on July 27, the district’s Department of Preventive Health said, the number of infected people had risen to 21 just a day later.

Since the area has many foreign residents, the possibility of a major outbreak is considered high.

Fearing an outbreak at schools, the district convened a meeting of 60 headmasters and headmistresses and ward officials to discuss measures against the disease and distribute 15,000 brochures.

The epidemic continues to spread in educational institutions. One student tested positive at the University of Economics on July 28 following a visit to District 7.

Another student at Nguyen Thai Binh School in Tan Binh District tested positive, a Department of Health official said.

Fourteen children studying in Ngo Thoi Nhiem High School in District 9 have returned home from hospitals after recovering from the flu, while 22 of their schoolmates remain quarantined in school as are 57 others at Nguyen Khuyen High School in Tan Binh District.

The Department of Health is monitoring the pandemic at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology in District 7, Construction High School in Binh Thanh District, Hong Duc High School in Tan Binh District, and the University of Science and Kumon Junior School in District Phu Nhuan.

They all have had students testing positive for the disease since mid-July.

Despite warnings from health officials, people thronged drugstores on To Hien Thanh Street to buy Tamiflu pills on July 28.

Some pharmacies refused to sell, others sold but at high prices.

Meanwhile, pharmacies on Hai Ba Trung Street, Cong Quynh, Su Van Hanh have increased the price of masks. A deluxe variety costs VND2,000-10,000 more but shops continue to run out of stocks.

Some shops refuse to sell more than 10 masks to any customer.

Thirty-one cases -- a record number for a single day -- were reported on July 28, the Ministry of Health said, taking the total number in the country to 703.

The Department of Health in the northern province of Hai Phong confirmed three cases due to close contact with infected people, the first cases of the disease’s spread within a family

By Lam Tue - Translated by Thuc Tran

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