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Health Minister says no need to restrict publ -

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PETER CAVE: The Federal Health Minister says the WHO's declaration of the first global flu pandemic
in 40 years won't lead to much change in the way Australia is dealing with the disease.

Swine flu infections in the Americas, Australia and Europe have climbed to over 30,000 cases.

The WHO is paying careful attention to what happens here over the coming weeks with the onset of
winter, predicting that one in three people will succumb to the virus.

Under WHO guidelines, during a pandemic countries should consider the possibility of shutting down
public transport, shopping centres and even sporting events.

But the Health Minister says that Australia is nowhere near that point.

Alison Caldwell reports.

ALISON CALDWELL: The World Health Organisation's declaration of a pandemic is historic.

The last time it did so was in the late 1960s when the Hong Kong flu killed between one and
four-million people, including 34,000 deaths in the United States.

In the late 90s, the H5N1 virus, or SARS, killed six people in Hong Kong. Over a million chickens
were slaughtered to end the threat. SARS didn't develop the ability to pass from human to human but
swine flu has.

PETER CORDINGLEY: What you have now is a serious situation although I have been reading media
reports of, you know, vox pop people in the street saying they're not very concerned about this,
it's only seasonal flu.

But the numbers are going to grow and they are going to grow enormously and what you are looking at
now is nothing compared to what you are going to be looking at in six weeks' time, we think.

ALISON CALDWELL: Peter Cordingley is the WHO spokesman for the western pacific region. He says this
winter health authorities are watching what happens with swine flu in Melbourne in particular.

PETER CORDINGLEY: What you are seeing in Melbourne, it's actually happening before your influenza
season really starts. When it does start and you get the circulating winter flu virus and H1N1, we
don't know. We haven't, we've seen, nowhere yet has it happened and it's likely to happen in
Australia before anywhere else.

So basically you are a test bed. We are very concerned about what might happen in the winter flu
season if this virus becomes more active.

ALISON CALDWELL: Under WHO guidelines, during a pandemic countries may want to consider shutting
down public events in order to protect the population.

PETER CORDINGLEY: We think in the early stages of this virus that it might attack one person in
three. What we have to do, what governments have to do in that kind of circumstance is to flatten
the curve - to stop the number of infected people spiking.

And one of the ways to do that is to keep people away from each other. Close schools temporarily,
postpone sports gatherings on a temporary basis until things quieten down.

ALISON CALDWELL: Australia's Health Minister Nicola Roxon says the country is nowhere near that

NICOLA ROXON: We are not receiving that advice or recommending any of those sorts of steps here in
Australia. We need to remember that going to this new alert level and having a pandemic declared is
about the spread of the disease and we've seen that evidence here in Australia, how quickly it can

It's not about the virulence of the disease which for most people will be very mild, but we do have
a severe end of it we are concerned about and it would be disproportionate with all of the current
advice and evidence we have to think about closing any sort of mass events or public shopping
centres. That would be a disproportionate response.

ALISON CALDWELL: The World Health Organization says declaring a pandemic reflects only the spread
of a disease, not the virulence of a disease.

The United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon says while countries need to be vigilant, there's
no need to over react.

BAN KI-MOON: We must guard against rash and discriminatory actions such as travel bans or trade
restrictions. Our response to any pandemic must be grounded in science.

ALISON CALDWELL: According to a study in "Nature" magazine, researchers believe swine flu probably
developed years ago and jumped from pigs to humans several months before the outbreak was
officially recognised.

In Mexico more than 6,000 people have swine flu; 108 people have died from the disease since April.

Health Secretary Jose Cordova says the virus there is now virtually under control.

JOSE CORDOVA (translated): There are hardly any new cases in Mexico. There are isolated cases that
are young people or children who are in treatment and who are doing well. We no longer have any
very serious cases. New cases number about 30 per day throughout the entire country and they are
very isolated. They aren't outbreaks that involve a lot of people.

ALISON CALDWELL: In Australia more than 1300 people have swine flu.

The virus has forced the partial closure of a primary school in Sydney's west, affecting almost 90
students. A boy in year four at St Margaret Mary's in Merrylands tested positive to the disease
after being in contact with someone from Victoria. Eighty-seven students in Year Four have been
told to stay away until Monday.

Principal Carmel Agius.

CARMEL AGIUS: We got the notification late yesterday afternoon that he was tested as a positive
case. All of yesterday we had New South Wales Health here. So they set up a clinic. We isolated the
children in Year Four who did have close or possible close contact with this student as well as the
teachers who were involved.

PETER CAVE: The principal of St Margaret Mary's school, Carmel Agius ending that report from Alison

EDITOR'S NOTE: This transcript and audio is of a version of the story broadcast in Western
Australia after incorrect information regarding SARS and bird flu broadcast earlier was removed
from the program.