Gloabl swine flu deaths top 100

The global swine flu death toll marched past 100 on Wednesday with one new fatality reported in the United States and four more in Mexico, the two countries where the first outbreaks were reported.

Tourists walk at Cozumel's port, Mexico, after arriving on board of the Enchantment of the Seas cruise ship, on May 27, 2009. International cruise ships re-started arriving to the Mexican Caribbean island of Cozumel Wednesday after a month of suspension due to the outbreak of influenza A H1N1 virus (swine flu).

Prior to the latest North American deaths, the World Health Organization (WHO) had reported the global toll at 95, with 13,398 people in 48 countries infected with the A(H1N1) virus since it was first uncovered last month.

Here in Chicago, a second swine flu death was reported by officials, bringing the US toll to 15.

Mexico's four fatalities raised the country's toll to 89 with 100 new infections reported, bringing the total to 4,821, the Health Ministry said.

Around the world, efforts to control the disease continued as new cases were discovered.

Two more countries -- the Dominican Republic in the Caribbean and South America's Uruguay -- each reported their first two confirmed cases of swine flu, raising the number of countries with cases to 50.

Chile confirmed 119 cases late Tuesday, making it by far the South American country most affected by the outbreak. Argentina, Brazil, Colombia and Ecuador have also reported cases.

Elsewhere, services continued to slowly return to something approaching normalcy.

In Mexico, cruise ships began calling at Cozumel after a one-month hiatus.

Australia, meanwhile, slapped tough measures on cruise ships docking in Sydney in a bid to stop the spread of the disease.

Under the new rules, all cruise liners docking in Sydney will be treated as potential swine flu sites and passengers will be held on board until the ship is cleared.

Australia's restrictions came with the A(H1N1) virus spreading further throughout Asia.

But the WHO has so far resisted declaring the disease a full-fledged pandemic.

The outbreak has spread further in Asia, with Singapore confirming its first case and Hong Kong, where Asia's first infection sparked a week-long quarantine of around 300 guests and staff at a city hotel, announced a fresh total of 10.

Japan has seen a rapid rise in confirmed cases, saying Wednesday it had over 350.

In Europe, Romania announced its first confirmed infection in a woman who returned from New York on May 23 with her two young children.

Greece reported its third swine flu case as health officials called a fresh emergency meeting, while stressing the situation was under "complete control."

Besides the human toll, Mexico's economy has taken a deep hit from the virus.

Mexican restaurant owners said that some 6,500 eateries remained definitively closed due to losses made during the swine flu epidemic, shedding more than 55,000 jobs.

Almost half of those forced to close were in the sprawling capital, where the government ordered all restaurants to shut temporarily at the height of the epidemic, the national chamber of the restaurant industry said.

Source: AFP

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