British swine flu cases rise to 909

There are now 909 confirmed cases of swine flu in the UK and that figure is likely to further increase, Health Secretary Andy Burnham has said.

In a Commons statement, Mr Burnham said there had been "significant increases" in the daily number of cases confirmed in certain parts of the UK, particularly Scotland.



But he said the rise came as "no surprise" and is in line with what ministers know about similar outbreaks.



Twenty-eight people had been hospitalised by the disease, but the majority of them have already made a full recovery.



Mr Burnham said at some point the focus will need to move from limiting the spread of a localised virus to "mitigating the effects of a widespread virus".



He stressed that point had not been reached yet but insisted all countries must now ready themselves to deal with increased flu cases.



His warning came after the World Health Organisation on Thursday said the world is now gripped by a flu pandemic and should "brace" itself to see more deaths.



Mr Burnham said there is now clear evidence of "sustained community transmission" outside North America, which "means that we are now facing the first pandemic for more than 40 years".



But he insisted the UK is in a "very strong position to respond to the global pandemic we now face".



The Government has set aside a further £6 million to help the international response and updated its strategy for tackling swine flu, including more targeted use of antiviral prophylaxis.

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