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Masked Mexican children return to school -

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Reporter: Barbara Miller

PETER CAVE: Millions of Mexican children have returned to their classrooms, following the mass
closure of schools due to the swine flu outbreak.

As daily life returns to normal, the Mexican Government has announced a $1-billion recovery package
for the country's businesses.

The number of new cases of H1N1 worldwide is still rising though, and a new study has found the
virus is comparable in strength to the 1957 Asian flu.

Barbara Miller compiled this report:

BARBARA MILLER: Many primary school students wore surgical masks on their first day back at school
since the swine flu outbreak.

As they entered the gates they were handed information leaflets on the virus and teachers sprayed
their hands with disinfectant.

The country's high schools re-opened last week and businesses, bars and cafes are trading again
too.

Patricia Espinosa is the Mexican Foreign Minister

PATRICIA ESPINOSA (translated): The most recent data indicates that there is clear reduction in the
number of new confirmed cases. The Government has started a process of normalisation of the
economic and social activities in Mexico.

BARBARA MILLER: The closure of businesses has though taken its toll on the economy.

The Finance Minister Augustin Carstens has announced a recovery package worth 11-billion pesos,
around $AU1-billion.

(Augustin Carstens speaking)

Tourism is one of the hardest hit industries.

But some visitors to Mexico City aren't letting the health scare spoil their holiday.

TOURIST: I think that I could probably get symptoms of the flu anywhere I go so I am not too really
worried about being in Mexico and having it. I am not going to make it fear for me while I am
travelling.

BARBARA MILLER: The number of cases of H1N1 infection worldwide is creeping towards the 5,000 mark
and there have been more than 50 deaths.

A new study, published in the journal Science, has concluded that the virus is much more infectious
and deadly than seasonal influenza.

Dr Christophe Fraser is an epidemiologist at Imperial College London.

CHRISTOPHE FRASER: We estimate that around 23,000 people were infected by the end of April at the
point when the WHO made the decision to announce pandemic level five and that the case fatality
proportion in Mexico is about 0.4 per cent of cases.

BARBARA MILLER: What does that tell us - a case fatality of 0.4 per cent or thereabouts?

CHRISTOPHE FRASER: Well, the question obviously is whether that severity in Mexico is
representative as a whole but that would place us somewhere in the ball park certainly not of the
1918 pandemic, something like the 1957 pandemic.

BARBARA MILLER: The World Health Organization puts the death toll from the 1957 flu at between
one-million and four million.

And although health care has improved significantly since then, the WHO's assistant
director-general for health security and environment Dr Keiji Fukuda issued this plea.

KEIJI FUKUDA: Keep reminding everybody that it could go up, it could go down and again in a
situation where you are dealing with a new virus, a new infection, it is important to remind people
over and over again, we can't exactly predict where it is going to go.

BARBARA MILLER: Cuba has just reported its first case of H1N1 and the Chinese Health Ministry has
announced measures to try and contain the spread of the virus after its first confirmed case on the
mainland.

CHINESE HEALTH DEPARTMENT SPOKESMAN (translated): The person contaminated with H1N1 took two
flights. One from Japan, from Tokyo to Beijing. There were 233 people on board and now they are
dispersed across 21 provinces across China. The other flight was from Beijing to Chengdu and this
flight included 150 passengers.

Starting last night, health officials are trying to track down those 150 people.

BARBARA MILLER: There's still only one confirmed case of swine flu infection in Australia.

The Department of Health and Ageing says 19 people who sat within two rows of the woman on a flight
from LA to Brisbane have all been contacted and have not reported any flu-like symptoms.

PETER CAVE: Barbara Miller reporting.