Four new cases of swine flu were confirmed in England yesterday, bringing the total across Britain to 32, the Department of Health said.
The latest sufferers are adults from Tameside in Greater Manchester, north-east Essex, and the West and East Midlands. All of them returned recently from Mexico, where the virus was first identified.
There are now 28 confirmed cases in England and four in Scotland. A further 390 suspected cases of the H1N1 virus are being investigated. Across the globe, more than 1,658 cases have been confirmed and 44 people have died – 42 in Mexico and two in the US.
In America, the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention increased the number of confirmed cases from 403 to 642, including the two deaths. Many businesses in Mexico re-opened yesterday after a five-day shutdown in response to the outbreak. Universities, churches and museums are scheduled to re-open today and primary schools next week.
Meanwhile, experts at the World Health Organisation in Geneva said at least two injections would be needed to protect against both the seasonal form of flu and the H1N1 strain. The agency will ask drug companies to start producing swine flu vaccine once they finish making seasonal flu jabs, said the WHO's vaccine research director, Marie-Paule Kieny.