Health warning

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The Independent Online

Those who might be tempted to gripe about the £200m cost of the Government's preparations for a possible flu pandemic would be misguided. This is not a case of crying wolf. The decision to stockpile anti-viral drugs is a sensible precaution. Yes, health experts have been warning for years of the possibility of a flu outbreak that might cause 50,000 deaths in Britain. But a bird flu virus has killed several dozen people in Asia, and there are fears it could mutate, triggering a global pandemic. The drugs might not stop anyone catching flu, but they would lessen the symptoms, and thus save lives.

Those who might be tempted to gripe about the £200m cost of the Government's preparations for a possible flu pandemic would be misguided. This is not a case of crying wolf. The decision to stockpile anti-viral drugs is a sensible precaution. Yes, health experts have been warning for years of the possibility of a flu outbreak that might cause 50,000 deaths in Britain. But a bird flu virus has killed several dozen people in Asia, and there are fears it could mutate, triggering a global pandemic. The drugs might not stop anyone catching flu, but they would lessen the symptoms, and thus save lives.

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