Mexico returning to normal: President

May 5th, 2009 - 8:10 am ICT by IANS  

Mexico City, May 5 (EFE) Mexico’s President Felipe Calderon has said that his country is “in a situation to restart the road toward normality”, as the outbreak of swine flu is stabilising.
“We find ourselves at a stage of stabilisation of the spread of the human influenza virus and we know its basic characteristics,” Calderon said Monday after meeting with state governors and Mexico City Mayor Marcelo Ebrard.

“We must, of course, recall that this virus is still present and that there will always be risk that its spread may continue,” he said, calling upon his countrymen not to let down their guard.

“As the country returns to normal school, work and economic activities, we will have to redouble our efforts to continue with the preventive measures of better hygiene, particularly among the population,” he added.

The president congratulated the country’s authorities and the public for observing the recommended, and in some cases mandated, health measures, which included the use of masks and the admonition to avoid public gatherings to prevent contagion.

Confirmed deaths from swine flu have reached 26 in Mexico and the number of people infected with the A/H1N1 virus stands at 701, federal authorities said earlier Monday.

Last week, Calderon asked Mexicans to remain in their homes from May 1-5.

He said he was aware that the situation had resulted in “important costs” for the country’s economy, but he reaffirmed that the priority had always been “to protect the lives and health of Mexican families”.

Mexico’s 33 million students will begin returning to classes later this week, the capital’s mayor said shortly before Calderon spoke.

Ebrard told reporters that on Thursday university and high school students will return to class and that implementation of the measure will be completed May 11 with the return of primary and nursery school students.

Students have been excused from classes since April 23 in Mexico City - the epicentre of the outbreak - and since April 27 in the rest of the country.

According to Health Secretary Jose Angel Cordova, up to 2,164 specimens from possible cases have been analyzed now and 727 cases have been confirmed.

The majority of deaths have occurred in Greater Mexico City, which is home to around 20 million people, and in the surrounding state of Mexico.

“These studies make me optimistic that we have, based on specimens that are being either confirmed or discounted, and on what epidemiologists have told us, a trend towards a decline in cases,” Cordova said Monday.

He said that in those states where Mexico’s main centers of tourism are located, such as Cancun and Acapulco, there have been few cases of the virus.

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